Officials caution about rip currents and lack of lifeguards on Jersey Shore beaches


SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. — Rip currents are creating dangerous conditions for swimmers at area beaches.

While lifeguards on New York beaches remain on duty a while longer, many New Jersey beaches no longer have them.

CBS2’s Nick Caloway went to the Jersey Shore to check on that dangerous mix of riptides and unprotected shoreline.

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Down the shore, double red flags are up. Swimming was prohibited Friday in Seaside Heights. That was bad news for Peter Hamill, who drove two hours looking forward to a dip in the water.

“I mean, what am I going to do, argue with a lifeguard? He makes the rules. Rule says I can’t swim, I can’t swim,” said Hamill, of Strasburg, Pennsylvania.

“It’s highly dangerous, large rips,” added Jay Boyd, chief of lifeguards in Seaside Heights.

Boyd has been watching over the waters for 20 years and knows the most dangerous spots.

“At a certain time, that’s the biggest rip we have,” Boyd said.

The big waves and dangerous rip currents can put swimmers in danger quickly.

“If you get caught in that, it’ll sweep you off your feet, and at that point, you could be a very strong swimmer and still not be able to get back to shore,” Boyd said.

So beachgoers will have to stay dry and watch those big waves from afar.

“And I saw the red flags, and I said, ‘Well, I’ll just stay here and I’ll be nice and safe,” said Sylvia Keker of Rahway.

“Last week was perfect. We swam. This week? Not so much,” added Sue Krukowski of South Brunswick.

Now that Labor Day has passed, many Jersey Shore beaches are understaffed or not staffed at all with lifeguards. Officials warn people to only swim where lifeguards are present, adding swimmers should be on high alert through Saturday, not just on the Jersey Shore, but also in New York City and on Long Island.

Officials say if the conditions improve Saturday in Seaside, swimming might be allowed, but it’ll be a game-time decision.  

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