Stay between the blue flags and don’t venture away from lifeguards this summer
There's nothing like a day at a Jersey Shore beach on a sunny day where the water temperature is just right and the waves are calm and fun to swim through just about anywhere.
When you head to a beach this summer, for a tan or a dip or swim in the water, there's a few key rules to follow.
It starts in Long Branch with staying between the blue flags and not venturing away from the area.
"We want everybody swimming in front of the lifeguard stand between the blue flags," Long Branch Beach Manager Danny George said. "Those blue flags could move a little bit depending on the surf conditions, the wind conditions and the rip current conditions. We'll slide them a little bit but we'll also move the lifeguard stand as well."
The Long Branch Ocean Rescue Team has nearly 140 lifeguards overall stationed throughout the summer across 26 lifeguard stands on the beach overseeing the ocean from Seaview Avenue to Park Avenue and they are also stationed at some pools.
Wherever a lifeguard is stationed on a given day, you and everyone around you is their number one safety priority.
"From a lifeguard standpoint, their job is first and foremost and always will be the safety of anyone who is going swimming and in the water, so their job is to have their eyes on the water the entire time," George said. "We also have a security team in place and ticket takers to make sure the rest of the people are safely distanced and following any of the (Covid) rules that we will continue with from last year."
Make sure you check all the flags and surf when you get to the beach to see what the conditions are that day and when in doubt, ask a lifeguard.
"Swim by the lifeguard, the lifeguards are your best knowledge, go and talk to them, ask them a question if you're not certain about it and don't be afraid, that's what they're there for," Brian Cerbone, the Beach Front Manager in Ortley Beach, said.
(You can hear more from Long Branch Beach Manager Danny George and Ortley Beach Beachfront Supervisor Brian Cerbone this coming Sunday on Jersey Shore Journal which airs at 6:00 am on 92.7 WOBM, 94.3ThePoint, 105.7TheHawk and Beach 104.1 FM and/or on our radio station apps!)
It's important to remember that when you go into the water for a swim that you're not an Olympic swimmer, unless you actually are, and above all to know your body's physical limits, especially early in the summer, between May and June.
"We always get concerned because it's the beginning of the year and people are not necessarily in swimming shape, the water is usually quite a bit colder than it is in the middle of the summer to the end of the summer," George said. "People can get in trouble a lot easier in the beginning of the summer because of not being in shape, water being colder and we always want to make sure that you realize that as the summer progresses, so does your conditioning, your beach awareness, your ocean awareness and so from the awareness stand-point, we want to hit the beach in August mode in June as oppose to just walking in and thinking you can go swim 200-meters or go out in really big surf when your body isn't ready."
If you do find yourself in trouble in the water at any point of the summer, Brian Cerbone, the Beach Front Manager in Ortley Beach, says it's important to remain as calm as possible.
"The first thing we always say is 'don't panic' and I know it's a stressful situation and you want to panic but don't panic, you're not going to win the battle with the ocean. If you get caught in what we call a sea-push or a hole, you'll get sucked out, it's not going to pull you under, it's going to pull you out. One of our lifeguards will come and get you at that point, it's just going to pull you out about 100-yards and then we'll have to swim you in," Cerbone said. "If you are strong enough and you want to try, you'll swim parallel to the beach, so you'll either go north or south. What we usually say is you want to try and swim with the drift which runs with the wind, so if it's blowing from the south, it'll have a north drift."
Lifeguards are always keeping an eye on the water, so someone will come into the water and help you out if you're in trouble.
You can hear more from Long Branch Beach Manager Danny George and Ortley Beach Beachfront Supervisor Brian Cerbone this coming Sunday on Jersey Shore Journal which airs at 6:00 am on 92.7 WOBM, 94.3ThePoint, 105.7TheHawk and Beach 104.1 FM and/or on our radio station apps!