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New Jersey Beaches Need Extended Lifeguard Hours

Beach towns should extend lifeguard hours to enhance paying visitors' safety.

With a third reported drowning off New Jersey’s beaches in this Summer of 2012, I had a thought (no comments about me having a thought, please.)

Apparently, the drownings, two in Monmouth County (Bradley Beach and Long Branch) and the other in Atlantic City, all occurred after lifeguards were off-duty. Swimmers are all aware there will be no lifeguards on duty at some point at the end of the day. So, bathing, surfing, skimboarding, boogie boarding, wading, fishing, etc, are all done at the risk of the individuals that choose to do so at that time of the day. I understand these are the conditions, however, everyone has to pay to get on New Jersey beaches, right?

You mean to tell me that with all the cash coming into the respective towns via beach badges, parking, umbrella rentals or whatever beach related items that can be collected, there isn’t enough money or lifeguards to extend monitored hours on New Jersey beaches? I think not. I bet towns turn away many prospective lifeguards every summer because towns believe they have enough staff to maintain a safe swimming enviroment.

I propose that ALL New Jersey beaches be REQUIRED to staff ALL swimming areas until DUSK. That’s right, dusk. What are we talking about another four or five hours? The towns can even shrink the swimming areas to be monitored by roping off a section for patrons (everyone is a patron remember, due to a fee to use the beach.) Swim outside this area and you will be fined (more income that towns love to collect.) This will even increase the towns’ take, because they can continue to collect at the entrance until the dusk “closing.”

Listen, this will never eliminate drownings at any beach, but it sure would be a step in the right direction to try to make the beaches a safer place to enjoy by New Jersey residents and vacationers (see I didn’t say Benny or Shoobie.)

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Donna Griffin June 13, 2012 at 08:55 PM
You're a nice man, Vinny & I can tell you mean well. Actually, some of the beach towns do pay their guards more (and significantly more). Those are the Federation Beaches, e.g. Ocean Beach 1,2, etc. and Silver Beach. The Monmouth County beaches pay a good bit better as well. Sandy Hook (a national park) probably pays their guards the best of all. Ocean County municipal beaches are not known for their competitive payscale in that regard. Ortley just increased their lifeguard pay but is now having the kids park nearly a mile away and walk to headquarters to start their days. Most beaches do not offer reserved parking for these kids and won't give up a paid public parking spot for them. Leaving for lunch break on a holiday weekend is tough for them & most brown bag it. The thing is that these kids LOVE their jobs. The responsibility with which they are presented at 16 y.o. is pretty huge and the vast majority of them rise to the occasion beautifully. When I hear that a beach goer would jeopardize his own life or that of his loved ones by swimming in unguarded waters, it's sad to say that I do not shed many tears. I think that, as a society, we need to allow people to deal with the consequences of their stupid actions and not burden law abiding citizens with the job or added expense to protect them. Stupidity breeds stupidity.
Joann Sarullo Brendler June 14, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Sorry to say, folks, but there is a very significant reason that extending guard hours will never work. The people swimming after hours are also going to the beach after hours to avoid paying to get onto the beach.
Bunny Bloom June 17, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Lifeguards til dusk will not solve a stupidity epidemic. Most people don't need someone to remind us not to walk on broken glass in bare feet. SMH.
Vinny Varvaro June 20, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Bunny - thx for your thoughts. I'm saying if one person (stupid or not) can be saved with just longer lifeguard hours, it would be worth it.
Vinny Varvaro July 13, 2012 at 07:28 PM
I guess a couple of Jersey Shore towns got the message. Thanks Asbury and Brick!! http://www.app.com/article/20120712/NJNEWS/307120088/Asbury-Park-commends-lifeguards-extends-beach-hours?sf5072657=1 http://brick.patch.com/articles/lifeguard-hours-extended-at-brick-beaches-parking-policy-tweaked

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