Lifeguard Hours Extended at Brick Beaches; Parking Policy Tweaked
'Tragedies' spurred township to act, Mayor says
Lifeguards will now be on duty until 6 p.m. at the township's ocean beaches.
A recent spate of drownings in Seaside Park and Asbury Park prompted township officials to rework lifeguard schedules to allow beaches to be guarded for more than an hour extra for the remainder of the season, Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis said.
"The early summer at the Jersey Shore has been deadly," the mayor said. Brick lifeguards have already had a number of saves this season, he added.
Previously, lifeguards were posted on duty until 4:45 p.m. daily during the summer, according to Business Administrator Scott Pezarras.
By splitting the lifeguards into two shifts, the extra hour and 15 minutes of coverage could be achieved without increasing the beach budget, said Acropolis.
Acropolis said township officials consulted with Lifeguard Capt. Donovan Brown, who said between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., there is still a large amount of people on the beach. They begin to leave between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., however.
"It's an opportunity for us, with a little smarter working of the scheduling of our lifeguards, to be able to get increased coverage until 6 o'clock," said Acropolis.
Parking Regulations Changed
The parking policy at ocean beaches has also changed, allowing season parking pass holders to park in the municipal lots until 11 p.m.
Previously, season parking pass holders were allowed to park between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., then hourly rates would kick in.
But Council President John Ducey said some residents complained that they prefer to go to the beach after sunset, or stay to view fireworks displays in neighboring towns after dark. One resident came to a meeting in June and said he can only go to the beach after sunset due to a skin condition. Still other residents said they enjoy fishing after dark.
The 11 p.m. parking time allowance represents a compromise, said Ducey.
"This way, the fireworks are over, but you're still avoiding the other situation," he said.
The change back to hourly rates after a certain hour was put in place because some residents began permanently parking overnight in the lots, reducing the number of spaces available to beachgoers.