via Wikimedia Commons

NJ - New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Launches New Beach Safety Campaign

New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, along with New York Sea Grant, is encouraging people to enjoy the BEach SAFEly, and has recently launched a campaign that focuses on both COVID-19 precautions and ocean hazards of which beachgoers should be aware.

NJSGC, founded in 1969 as the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium, is an affiliation of colleges, universities and other groups dedicated to advancing knowledge and stewardship of the state’s marine and coastal environment.

The campaign’s first initiative – Stay Social, Be Distant – was announced on July 16. “This summer, the beaches are open and you should enjoy them. Just remember that you still need to practice social distancing – embrace your personal space,” the organizations note. “Stay at least six feet apart from other beachgoers that you didn’t come with; this is about the average length of a surfboard, two boogie boards, a bit more than an beach towel’s length or three beach chairs.

“When you’re walking around the beach, to and from the parking lot or other facilities, or if you can’t stay more than six feet apart from others, remember to wear your mask,” the groups add. “Frequently wash or sanitize your hands, and, if you feel sick, stay home.”

The second week of the initiative, meanwhile, focuses on rip current awareness. As NJSGC and NYSG explain, “Rip currents are one of the deadliest beach hazards. They occur as ocean water moves swiftly away from the shore.

“If caught in a rip, remain calm,” the organizations advise. “Wave or call for help; flip onto your back and float, rather than fighting against the current; and follow it as it takes you to calmer waters where it dissipates and you can swim safely to shore.”

And, if someone else is in danger, “do not try to save them yourselves; rather, maintain visual contact with the victim and send another beachgoer to get help, or call 911.”

The campaign’s third week topic will be released soon, followed by weeks four through nine.