Seaside Heights lifeguards sprang into action two days before they were officially on duty, performing two rescues that saved three people.
The rescues took place Wednesday, when the air temperature hovered around 80 degrees, but the water was a chilly 57 degrees.
“We had five guys in, moving boats and moving stands on the beach,” said Beach Patrol Capt. Rob Connor. “We heard over the police scanner that someone was in trouble on the Franklin Avenue beach.”
Two guards ran down to the surf and began swimming out to the victim, while another got in a kayak and began paddling out.
“When they got the victim, he was out pretty far and was in bad shape,” said Connor. “But when he got to the shore, fortunately he was fine.”
As one call ended, another came in, this time north of the lifeguard headquarters at Webster Avenue. This time, two small children were unable to get back into shore.
“They basically fell off the sandbar and couldn’t swim, had a hard time getting back in, and we had to go out and get them,” Connor said.
With air temperatures expected to stay warm all weekend, some people will inevitably go swimming. There are a few tips to keep them safe – most importantly, avoiding heading out too far since it means a longer time in the water and could produce a tougher time getting back, especially since the body can go into shock.
“Talk to the lifeguards,” said Connor. “They’ll put you in the right direction and the right area. They’ll tell you where the bad spots are. If you have a concern as to where you’re going, go talk to the lifeguards. They have experience, they have experienced eyes and they know where you should be at.”
Lifeguards officially begin their season Friday.