In the few weeks after Labour Day, the beaches in New Jersey accumulated a total of four drownings. This could be due to the fact that lifeguards were often not present. This is also the period when there is an increased risk for rip currents. Despite the warning signs that prohibit swimming when lifeguards are not present, there are still many people who continue to swim at their own risk.
“I feel unsafe. My daughter doesn’t know how to swim, so I have to watch her,” stated Karina Martinez, who rushed to the Asbury Park beach shorebreak to grab her 5 year old daughter on Saturday. According to Joseph Bongiovanni, Asbury Park’s beach safety supervisor, there are still lifeguards patrolling Asbury Park’s beaches, but in reduced numbers. Nonetheless, they encourage swimmers to group themselves together in specific parts of the city’s beach instead of spreading out or venturing out alone. This will definitely allow them to have a better eye on all swimmers. However, this was contrary to what Karina experienced. She did not spot any lifeguards on duty at all on Saturday.
The deaths that took place were at four different places. They were in Asbury Park, Bradley Beach, Long Branch and Seaside Park. During the incident, there were no lifeguards on duty at all. “Frankly, it’s a problem. All it takes is one person who is not a really good swimmer to get too far out,” mentioned Joseph. As mentioned, there were warning signs put in place. Some, like Kim Rosnik, obeyed the instructions and didn’t allow her three year old daughter in the water. “I would prefer (lifeguards). The lifeguards here are amazing in the summer. They are definitely worth the money,” praised Kim.
The reason for the lack of lifeguards is due to budget constraints and scheduling conflicts as explained by Dick Johnson, Bradley Beach’s beach supervisor. He went on to declare that most lifeguards who patrol the waters off Bradley Beach are either students or teachers. During the summer period, their schedules are much more flexible. However, once school reopens in September, they tend to be more tight down. “Even if the town had the resources, there’s no one available to lifeguard. The people have to be responsible for themselves at some point,” said Dick. Do check out the full story here.
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