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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 5, 2017

Contact: Caryn Shinske (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Rob Geist (609) 292-2994

ISLAND BEACH STATE PARK TO HAVE LIFEGUARDS ON DUTY EVERY WEEKEND THROUGH OCTOBER 1
VISITORS ENCOURAGED TO SWIM ONLY AT LIFEGUARDED BEACHES, PRACTICE SAFETY TO AVOID BEING CAUGHT IN RIP CURRENTS

17/P85) TRENTON – Island Beach State Park in Ocean County will have extended swimming and lifeguard service throughout September for beach visitors enjoying the last weeks of summer.

Lifeguards will be on duty after Labor Day at Swimming Area 1 beaches from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. September 1-4, and every Friday, Saturday and Sunday thereafter through October 1. Swimming Areas 1 and 2, and the Southern Swim Area (Fisherman’s Walkway/Tice’s Shoal) will be open on these dates.

Since many municipally-operated beaches have reduced lifeguard operations in place following Labor Day weekend, the Department of Environmental Protection and National Weather Service are urging the public to be cautious and swim only at lifeguarded beaches during the remaining weeks of summer. Swimming is not permitted at state parks unless lifeguards are on duty.

“DEP continues lifeguard service after Labor Day weekend at Island Beach State Park because many visitors continue to enjoy swimming when crowds are smaller at our beaches and the weather is still warm,” said State Parks and Forestry Director Mark Texel. “Our lifeguards do a great job protecting swimmers at the Jersey Shore, and we will continue to protect our beaches during weekends throughout September.”

As a reminder, rip currents are the leading cause of ocean drownings across the nation, and beach visitors are encouraged to follow these safety tips during their visits to the Jersey Shore:

  • Read and heed signs at beaches warning about the dangers of rip currents, which do not pull people under water – they pull people away from shore. Drowning deaths occur when people pulled offshore are unable to keep themselves afloat and swim to shore. This may be due to any combination of fear, panic, exhaustion or lack of swimming skills.
  • If you are caught in a rip current, stay calm and swim parallel to the beach until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can’t make it to the shore, draw attention to yourself by waving and calling for help.
  • If you see someone in trouble in a rip current, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1. Rip currents can be stronger than the strongest swimmer. Throw the victim something that floats, such as a lifejacket, raft, cooler or inflatable ball and stay on shore and in contact with that person until help arrives. Do not become a victim of the rip current yourself.
  • Lastly, no matter the surf conditions, swim only in lifeguarded areas. Lifeguards at Island Beach State Park recently made a last-second rescue of a swimmer who had decided to swim in an unguarded area and began to struggle. Only a call to State Park Police by a nearby observer and the quick response of park lifeguards prevented a tragedy.

For more information on Island Beach State Park, including any park advisories that may be posted, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/island.html

For more information on rip currents from the National Weather Service, visit:  http://www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov/

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Last Updated: September 5, 2017