Six Who Saved Riptide-Trapped Swimmers Commended by DEP
Six members of the Island Beach State Park Beach Patrol who leaped into action to save four ripcurrent-besieged swimmers on the Fourth of July are singled out for praise by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin.
Lieutenant Chris Nye, Sergeants Brian Fisher and Jason Tarabokija and lifeguards Stephen Rossi, Anthony Porzio, Nicole Haines and Katie Alvarez stepped up in the crisis, along with Emergency Medical Technician Tom Delgaudio.
The unidentified swimmers from Philadelphia, age 14 to 36, became trapped around noontime at Area 15 in the state park, about three miles outside of the nearest guarded beach and not designated for swimming.
The multiple calamity unfolded when three of the swimmers raced into the water to rescue one who was already in the current’s grip.
The powerful, outward-bound tides are difficult for most people to spot, usually marked by churning or choppy water, differences in color, a line of foam or seaweed, or a break in the patterns of waves heading to shore.
Guidelines by the National Weather Service include swimming only at guarded beaches and following lifeguard instructions; swimming with partners; assuming ripcurrents are present; and if in doubt, don’t go out.
If you’re caught in a riptide, remain calm and don’t struggle against it; swim across the current, parallel to the shoreline; and when released from it, swim and angle away toward shore. If the ripcurrent is too powerful to break, tread water or float until help arrives or until it subsides.
Get more information about ripcurrents at http://www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov.
Find out more about Island Beach State Park at http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/park/island.html.