Long Branch: The Long Branch Fire Department, OEM and DPW teamed up with the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office, the Squankum and Seaside Heights Fire Departments Wednesday in a joint beach cleanup to prepare for Saturday's Polar Plunge at Pier Village in Long Branch.
Due to Hurricane Sandy and the devastating damage to the beach and boardwalk in Seaside Heights, this year’s 20th annual Polar Bear Plunge has been moved to Long Branch. The "plunge" begins at 1pm on February 23rd from the boardwalk between McLoone’s and Avenue A. The big cleanup was undertaken to remove any dangerous materials from the sand to the surf with safety for participants first and foremost. In addition, the steps up to the boardwalk were getting some last minute remediation.
With 5,200 registrants signed up to date the city is expecting over 6,000 to take the dip in the Atlantic in support of the Special Olympics New Jersey. The annual event raises money in support of these special athletes and this year hopes to raise about $1.4 million.
Registration for late entrants will be available near the Ocean Place Spa starting at 9am Saturday morning.
Divers with the Sherriff’s Department were in the water and metal scanners were in play searching for metal objects along the beach. Long Branch DPW had its beach front end loader in operation for the cleanup and about 20 people in total were at the plunge site clearing remaining debris left behind by Hurricane Sandy.
“The DPW people had done an excellent job in advance of our final team effort,” said LB FD Asst. Chief Kevin Stout. “We found very little refuse today, but what we did find could have possibly hurt someone. We are glad the team was able to do this final check.”
Sea Side Heights and Long Branch first responders will be joined by the Wednesday team on Saturday, with divers in the water to provide added safety to Polar Plungers. Brrrrrrrr.....