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Lifeguards, surfers undergo water safety training ahead of Jersey Shore beach season

News 12 New Jersey caught up with the Big Wave Risk Assessment Group during a training session at Sea Girt Beach.

Jim Murdoch

Jun 4, 2024, 9:56 PM

Updated 19 days ago


Lifeguards will return to the Jersey Shore full-time in the upcoming days – but behind the scenes, the training never stops.
News 12 New Jersey caught up with the Big Wave Risk Assessment Group during a training session at Sea Girt Beach.
“We’re trying to be the best we can using the tools to keep them safe,” said Sea Girt Beach Chief Lifeguard Tim Harmon.
Training at Sea Girt taught lifeguards and rescue crews from Long Beach Island to Jones Beach how to use life-saving tools, like Jet Skis.
“We are learning several things from maintenance to regular, basic Jet Ski and watercraft operations, to launching the ski in large surf,” said Cary Epstein, Jones Beach lifeguard supervisor.
And when 180,000 people show up on the beach, like they did at Jones Beach during the recent holiday weekend, every tool becomes a lifesaver.
“You look out in the ocean and you have wildlife, you have poles, you have jetties, rocks, currents, waves, temperatures - all those hazards. How do you think about your rescue protocols?” asked Zachary DiIonno, director of the Big Wave Risk Assessment Group.
Surfers can and have played an important role when it comes to saving lives. In April, Brendan Tighe rescued a swimmer in trouble at Belmar Beach. This weekend, a course specifically designed for surfers taught by the Big Wave Risk Assessment Group will take place in Sea Girt.
“We are not looking to replace first responders. We are looking to be the bridge between what happens in the ocean and the time it takes a first responder to get there and often those are most critical minutes,” said DiIonno.
The weekend course is open to all ages, from beginners to experts and will go over topics such as surfboard-assisted rescues, CPR, risk assessment and basic ocean safety.
There are still plenty of open spots left for this weekend’s classes and for a list of pricing, schedule, and how to register, click HERE for more information.

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