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Lavallette Has Sold Over $700K in Badges So Far, And Guards Are Already Making Rescues

Lavallette life boat. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Lavallette life boat. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Lavallette’s beach is technically not yet open for “bathing season,” as it’s known in town, but officials are already off to what could be a record-breaking summer for crowds and beachgoers, while lifeguards – who are not yet on official duty – are already seeing action.

Councilman Michael Stogdill said this week that the borough has generated $712,005 in beach badge revenue so far this season. That is more than half of the total revenue collected in 2022 – $1,267,267 – which was barely short of the 2020 all-time record of $1,268,844.

Meanwhile, the borough’s lifeguard staff has been busy preparing for the upcoming season, and already has been credited with some saves.

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“Guards have been training with our experienced guys,” said Stogdill. “This Memorial Day weekend had the most people I’ve seen in town in many years.”

Indeed, guards already rescued a group of people who got swept out in a rip current at Magee Avenue. The guards, who were called from training, used equipment and a rope line to bring in the victims unscathed.

“Six individuals were caught in a rip current, and everyone was rescued with no injuries,” said Stogdill.

Lavallette’s guards also assisted in a rescue in Chadwick Beach.

“We had two guards go up there in our Gator with the Med-Bed,” Stogdill said. A Gator is an ATV-type vehicle used by lifeguard crews to transport equipment quickly from beach-to-beach.

“There were bad rip currents from Florida to Maine,” in recent weeks, said Stogdill. “This past weekend, the rip currents were even more pronounced and they just put up the red flags.”

“A lot of people coming down haven’t seen the news,” he said. “They just show up at the beach and take a swim, and discover they might not be able to get out.”

A smaller rescue occurred in town, he said, when a swimmer couldn’t quite make the last 10 feet back to shore.

As Shorebeat reported Monday, Lavallette officials have reported an unprecedented number of visitors early in the 2023 summer season. Borough Administrator John O. Bennett said water usage over Memorial Day weekend was equivalent to that of July 4 weekend last year, with over 900,000 gallons used. Borough officials are also looking for ways to deal with quick-filling public trash cans and other ancillary issues created by the early crowds.

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