Long Branch:Ordinances to extend lifeguard hours during holidays and other days when deemed appropriate by the City Business Administrator were approved by the governing body this week. The actions followed the Memorial Day tragedy when a young man drowned after lifeguards were no longer on duty.
The amendments were in response to a recommendation by Mayor Adam Schneider following his consultation with the administrator and Recreation Department who regulate the public Beaches.
Beach operations have been under review and manager Dan George has been trialing flex hours and other alternatives such as use of overtime for lifeguard coverage. Several lifeguards have been observed watching swimmers after the normal 5pm closing since the drowning.
Under the ordinance amendment, for certain holidays such as Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day “beaches shall remain open and protected from 9am until 7pm.” The official closing time had been 5pm for those holidays.
Business Administrator Howard Woolley said there may be other times, such as a forecasted heat wave when the public may wish to seek relief by using the beaches and swimming after the normal closing time of 5pm. Decisions in those situations will be on a case by case basis.
The amendment does not alter the safety requirements now in effect as to dangerous conditions, such as signal flags to provide alerts.
These alternatives of extended hours also increase costs. A second ordinance to provide for beach access sales to cover the costs was approved for days when the beach is open later. If the beach is open until 7pm plan on paying for access. Existing seasonal beach passes are not affected by the changes in the ordinance.