Shore Drownings Prompt Lifeguard Warnings [POLL/AUDIO]
With a rash of drownings at the Jersey Shore to kick off the summer season – lifeguards are reminding folks to pay attention to the warning signs.
Flags, warning signs, swimmers at the beach just aren’t getting the message.
“Swimming is an unguarded area is a risky behavior and that has consequences…and unfortunately sometimes they are deadly consequences” said Steve Stocks, Captain of the Wildwood Beach Patrol.
The bodies of two missing swimmers were recovered Thursday in Seaside Park and Asbury Park.
He said the guards are ready for trouble in the water, but they can’t be there 24 hours a day.
“When lifeguards hear about drownings they are disappointed because a lot of times that person could have been saved if they were swimming when someone was on duty.”
An Asbury Park Beach Supervisor wants a state ban on swimming at unguarded beaches.
Stocks believes the spike in recent drownings is due to the fact that its been much warmer early on in the season and that many beach goers are simply being more daring.
“Kids like to go into the water and show off with their friends, but if you are there alone, after guards have left, that can get you into a lot of trouble.”
Lifeguards in Seaside, Belmar, Spring Lake, and Long Branch have all had a busy start to the season – with an unusually high number of rescues.
“A lot of times they come down when the gate attendants leave for the day at like 4:30, so they can get on the beach for free, but I don’t think that’s worth risking your life” said Janet Carbin, Chief Lifeguard in Spring Lake.
She says they have seen a higher number of distressed swimmers this month.
“The problem is the rip currents are moving faster than ever and if you are not a local and you don’t know how to spot them, that’s it.”
To make their beaches safer, Spring Lake and Sea Girt are planning to use a smartphone app that tracks the locations of rip currents in real time.