Beaches in September? Jersey Shore towns looking to extend the season past Labor Day
Some beaches at the Jersey Shore, including Seaside Heights, are looking at September as the new August, hoping to extend the season past the traditional Labor Day finale.
Seaside Heights, as well as a growing list of other beaches, are planning on keeping lifeguards and patrols on duty through the end of September, weather permitting, or even as late as the middle of October.
A smiling David Boukili, with Jimmy's Breakfast, looks forward to an extra month and a half of summer in Seaside Heights.
“That would be the greatest thing in the world because we lost eight weeks in May and June,” says Boukili. “Prom season, Memorial Day weekend -- this would be a great thing.”
This comes with challenges. Business Administrator Christopher Vaz says the borough is in search of lifeguards and beach attendants to work through the end of September. Many of the staff members have left for school, but he feels he can adequately staff enough areas for at least a partially extended season.
“It is about being prepared,” says Vaz. “We are flexible enough that we can adjust and we've always had a strong shoulder season, but this may be more than a shoulder season for us in terms of beach and boardwalk. Hey, listen, we welcome that and us locals, we love summer, so we never want to see summer end anyway so this is an opportunity for us to keep going to the beach in September and October.”
Vaz says he's basing the need on an extended summer by the data, in hotel and vacation rentals, spilling into the off season. People who own homes for rent will also see a spike.
“It gives them a chance to get caught up a little bit because May and June, as you know, we were restricted when we could book,” says Mike Loundy, with Seaside Realty. “So, everybody's working very hard to try to get as much out of this as we can and with all the people buying in the area is a lot more people here.”
Water typically remains warm through the end of September, but quite often, dangerous conditions develop due to offshore hurricanes this time of year. Vaz says it's important to have the lifeguards on duty to accommodate the extra crowds expected during the month of September.
Extending the summer will mean hiring extra lifeguards, police, beach attendants, and social distancing ambassadors, but with many schools not returning the full-time classroom activity until later, town leaders say they have the manpower to carry summer into October.