Watch CBS News

As Summer Approaches, Officials Urge People To Remember Water Safety

ASBURY PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- With the summer season about to kick off, it's important to keep in mind best safety practices in the water, and there are simple things you can do to avoid dangerous situations.

CBS2's Vanessa Murdock spoke with folks who couldn't wait to get summer started at the Shore.

"After being cooped up for 14 months or so, getting out," said Andy Hoffman, of Basking Ridge.

There's so much to do, see and enjoy. But Asbury Park Beach Safety Supervisor Joe Bongiovanni says being along the water's edge comes with responsibility.

"I just can't emphasize how dangerous it is to swim when there are no lifeguards on duty," he said.

He says the sad reality is most drownings on the Shore occur on unguarded beaches or after guards go home for the night. Over the past decades, two people drowned after hours swimming along the jetty.

"Any kind of fixed structure -- a pier, a jetty, a groin, anything along those areas -- when the water sweeps down the beach and hits it, it's going to rip and go out," Bongiovanni said.

He says people should avoid these structures, even when guards are standing watch. Wade between the flags or buoys, which mark the space safest for swimming.

When you hear a whistle blow and see the lifeguard point at you, Bongiovanni says, "It's not because you can't swim, it's just that the rip may be starting to happen right there or it's a dangerous area."

Whether at the ocean or at the pool, you have to know your limits. Leonia Recreation Superintendent Sean Krakower says if you don't, that's when bad things can happen.

"You might not realize you're very tired in the water until you start going down," he said.

Even if there are lifeguards on duty, he says parents should always keep an eye on their children.

"Lifeguards are looking over as many as 60 children at once," said Krakower.

The more eyes, the safer the experience for all.

Leonia Swim Club Pool Manager Tim Ryan urges people to always double check the depth of the water.

"There's a lot of injuries that happen to people when they're jumping into water," he said. "Stay hydrated, put that sunscreen on."

Bongiovanni also wants to remind everyone the ocean may look calm and appear safe, but that can change in an instant.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.