Seaside Beach, NJ

NJ - Jersey Shore town warns of tickets for swimmers at unguarded beaches

Beachgoers in Seaside Heights who enter the ocean when no lifeguard is on duty, or when there are red flag conditions prohibiting swimming, are being put on notice they could face police summonses, the borough’s mayor said Thursday.

Mayor Tony Vaz said he worked with the borough council and police department to make the enforcement decision following dozens of rescues in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park this month and due to the high rip current risks likely to be in effect all weekend with Hurricane Lee churning hundreds of miles off shore in the Atlantic Ocean.

“If they go in the water, we’re going to try to get a patrolman up there,” Vaz said by phone Thursday morning. “We will warn them or throw them off the beach. If it continues, we will summons them. We’re going to use courtesy, but if they disrespect the authorities we’re going to issue them a summons.”

New Jersey’s beaches had four drownings in 24 hours over Labor Day weekend, when strong rip currents led to dozens of rescues. That included one death in Seaside Park.

Vaz said he didn’t know how much a potential fine would be, but News 12 New Jersey said the amount could be as high as $1,250.

While lifeguards remain on duty on the weekend through the end of September, the borough’s beaches will be unguarded on weekdays until late May.

There’s a high rip current risk along the Jersey Shore through Friday evening, according to the National Weather Service. In addition, a high surf advisory will be in effect from 6 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Saturday.

Ocean conditions are expected to be particularly rough through the weekend due to swells from Hurricane Lee, which was 265 miles southwest of Bermuda at 8 a.m. Thursday.

Sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s are expected through at least Sunday and the water is still plenty warm — 76 degrees on Thursday morning — so Seaside Heights officials are expecting crowds of people at the beach.

“The weather this weekend — we’re preparing for it,” Vaz said “High tide, currents you have to be careful.”

Vaz said announcements will be made over the public address system on the boardwalk starting Thursday about the ban on swimming when there are no lifeguards.

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