Sea Girt Beach Patrol


Sea Girt Surf Lifesaving Association
P.O. Box 55
Sea Girt, NJ 08750

lifeguard headquarters:
732 449 9335
732-449-9162 Fax

junior lifeguard headquarters:
732 449 4774



Jim Freda - Beach Manager
Timothy Harmon,
Chief of Lifeguard Operations and Emergency Management Coordinator
Matthew Harmon - Lieutenant
Todd Sudol - Lieutenant
Matt Zane - Lieutenant
Dan Connolly - Lieutenant
Amanda Brown - Sergeant
Will Sodano - Sergeant
Jeff Poland - Sergeant
Bill FIndlay - Sergeant
Matt Silvestri - Sergeant
Jillian Miller - Sergeant / Junior Lifeguard Director / Program Information
Sarah Brennan - Sergeant/ Asst Junior Lifeguard Director
Gary Finnigan - Sergeant / Sea Girt Surf School
Ed Krausser - Supervisor


Safety Flags:

Red Flag:
Rough Surf Management
NO Swimming

Orange Flag:
Swimming Border

Yellow Flag:
Restricted Bathing

Green Flag:
Swimming Allowed

Black Flag:
Surfing Destination

Blue/White Flag:
Flotation Devices

Safety Tips

General Information on Drowning:

Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death in the United States and the second leading cause of accidental death for persons aged 5 to 44. For children in the one to two year age range, drowning is the leading cause of injury death. In some states, like California, Florida, and Hawaii, drowning is the leading cause of injury death for persons under 15 years of age.

Death by drowning is only the tip of the iceberg for aquatic injury. It has been found that for every ten children who die by drowning, 140 are treated in emergency rooms, and 36 are admitted for further treatment in hospitals. Some of these never fully recover.

Males drown at a significantly higher rate than females (about 5 to 1). For boat related drownings, the ratio escalates to about 14 to 1.

Safety Tip Guide:

1. Swim Near A Lifeguard: USLA statistics over a ten year period show that the chance of drowning at a beach without lifeguard protection is almost five times as great as drowning at a beach with lifeguards. USLA has calculated the chance that a person will drown while attending a beach protected by USLA affiliated lifeguards at 1 in 18 million (.0000055%).

2. Learn To Swim: Learning to swim is the best defense against drowning. Teach children to swim at an early age. Children who are not taught when they are very young tend to avoid swim instruction as they age, probably due to embarrassment. Swimming instruction is a crucial step to protecting children from injury or death.

3. Never Swim Alone: Many drownings involve single swimmers. When you swim with a buddy, if one of you has a problem, the other may be able to help, including signaling for assistance from others. At least have someone onshore watching you.

4. Don't Fight the Current: USLA has found that some 80% of rescues by USLA affiliated lifeguards at ocean beaches are caused by rip currents. These currents are formed by surf and gravity, because once surf pushes water up the slope of the beach, gravity pulls it back. This can create concentrated rivers of water moving offshore. Some people mistakenly call this an undertow, but there is no undercurrent, just an offshore current. If you are caught in a rip current, don't fight it by trying to swim directly to shore. Instead, swim parallel to shore until you feel the current relax, then swim to shore. Most rip currents are narrow and a short swim parallel to shore will bring you to safety.

5. Swim Sober: Alcohol is a major factor in drowning. Alcohol can reduce body temperature and impair swimming ability. Perhaps more importantly, both alcohol and drugs impair good judgment, which may cause people to take risks they would not otherwise take.

6. Leash Your Board: Surfboards and bodyboards should be used only with a leash. Leashes are usually attached to the board and the ankle or wrist. They are available in most shops where surfboards and bodyboards are sold or rented. With a leash, the user will not become separated from the floatation device. One additional consideration is a breakaway leash. A few drownings have been attributed to leashes becoming entangled in underwater obstructions. A breakaway leash avoids this problem.

7. Don't Float Where You Can't Swim: Non-swimmers often use floatation devices, like inflatable rafts, to go offshore. If they fall off, they can quickly drown. No one should use a floatation device unless they are able to swim. Use of a leash is not enough because a non-swimmer may panic and be unable to swim back to the floatation device, even with a leash. The only exception is a person wearing a Coast Guard approved life jacket.

8. Life Jackets = Boating Safety: Some 80% of fatalities associated with boating accidents are from drowning. Most involve people who never expected to end up in the water, but fell overboard or ended up in the water when the boat sank. Children are particularly susceptible to this problem and in many states, children are required to be in lifejackets whenever they are aboard boats.

9. Don't Dive Headfirst, Protect Your Neck: Serious, lifelong injuries, including paraplegia, occur every year due to diving headfirst into unknown water and striking the bottom. Bodysurfing can result in a serious neck injury when the swimmer's neck strikes the bottom. Check for depth and obstructions before diving, then go in feet first the first time; and use caution while bodysurfing, always extending a hand ahead of you.

10. At Home, You're the Lifeguard: Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in many states for children age one and two. A major reason for this is home pools, which can be death traps for toddlers. Many of these deaths occur in the few moments it takes a parent to answer a telephone or doorbell. NEVER leave a child alone anywhere near a pool. Make sure it is completely fenced, that the fence is locked, and that there is no access from the home to the pool. Don't let your child or a neighbor's child get into the pool when you're not there.

Rip Currents & Rip Current Formation: Most waves are formed by wind on the water. Sea waves usually result from storms, often hundreds of miles from shore. Waves are not all equal in size. Sometimes a group of larger waves comes ashore one after another. This is known as a "set" of waves. When waves break, water is pushed up the slope of the shore. Gravity pulls this water back toward the sea. If it converges in a narrow, river-like current moving away from shore, it forms what is known as a rip current. Rip currents can be 50 feet to 50 yards or more wide. They can flow to a point just past the breaking surf (the surfline) or hundreds of yards offshore. Some 80% of rescues by lifeguards at America's surf beaches are due to persons being caught in rip currents. Rip currents may pull continuously, but they can suddenly appear or intensify after a set of waves, or when there is a breach in an offshore sandbar. Longshore currents, inshore holes, and other bottom conditions contribute to the formation of rip currents. Inshore holes and sandbars can also greatly increase the danger of spinal injury.

Rip Current Survival:   Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility at Duck, NC.

The sea is a wonderful playground, but you must respect its power. Learn to swim and consider participating in a junior lifeguard program. When swimming, choose an area protected by lifeguards. If you are not a strong swimmer, go no further than knee deep. If you decide to swim, check the conditions first to identify any dangerous currents. Ask a lifeguard for assistance. You can sometimes identify a rip current by its foamy and choppy surface. The water in a rip current may be dirty (from the sand being turned up by the current). The water may be colder than the surrounding water. Waves usually do not break as readily in a rip current as in adjacent water. If caught in a rip current, try to relax. A rip current is not an "undertow" -- it will not pull you under. Do not try to swim against the current as this is very difficult, even for an experienced swimmer. If you can do so, tread water and float. Call or wave for assistance. You can also try to swim parallel to shore until you are out of the current, then swim directly toward shore.

For More Downloadable Information About Rip Currents Click Here.

Longshore Currents:

The same forces which cause rip currents also cause longshore currents. These currents are most evident when waves hit the shore at an angle. This tends to cause the water to be pushed along the beach away from the direction of the oncoming waves. Usually, longshore currents are less hazardous than rip currents because they move along the shore, not away from the shore, but they can knock children and weaker adults off their feet. More importantly, longshore currents can feed and increase the power of rip currents. In other words, the longshore current may move along the shore, then turn offshore to become a rip current.

Inshore Holes:

Variable wave conditions, particularly seasonal changes in wave patterns, can create unevenness in the ocean bottom. This includes sandbars and sudden deep spots, called inshore holes. They can surprise waders, who suddenly find themselves over their heads. They can also create channels in the bottom, which concentrate and greatly intensify the power of rip currents. At any beach with uneven bottom conditions or obvious sandbars, a higher level of caution should be used.

USLA has published a list of safety tips. We recommend you follow all of them to ensure maximum safety in the water. USLA thanks the California State Lifeguards and the Trauma Research and Education Foundation for their assistance in providing this information.

Why Protect Your Spine?

Spinal injuries are a serious problem in the water, usually associated with diving head first and hitting the bottom. Spinal injury, perhaps more than any other trauma injury, can have severe lifelong consequences for the victim, parents, friends, and even rescuers, but most SPINAL INJURIES ARE PREVENTABLE.

Spinal Injury Avoidance Tips:

To help ensure you have only good beach days, we recommend the following tips, as well as our many other safety tips. It's also helpful to understand the spine and its importance to the body.

* Swim near a lifeguard * Check with lifeguards on current conditions before swimming * STOP, watch, and walk into the water. * DON'T dive headfirst into any unknown water.* DON'T dive toward the bottom into oncoming waves. * DON'T stand with your back to the waves. DON'T jump or dive from a cliff, pier, jetty or bridge. * Avoid bodysurfing, bodyboarding or surfing straight "over the falls." Ride the shoulder. * In a "wipeout," land as flat as possible with your hands out in front of you. * While bodysurfing, keep an arm out in front of you to protect your head and neck. * When in doubt, DON'T DIVE, play it safe!

Signs of an Injury:

Signs of a spinal injury can include things other than paralysis, but they require immediate attention. They include: * Bruises, scrapes or cuts to the head or face * Pain or tenderness in the neck or back * Partial or complete paralysis, difficulty breathing * Weakness in the arms and/or legs * Numbness and tingling in the arms and legs.

If Someone is Injured:

* Summon lifeguards or dial 9-1-1. * Advise the injured person to "Hold still. Don't move anything!" (Especially their head and neck.) * If they are standing or sitting, help them to try to maintain that position without moving their head or neck until help arrives. * If they are in the water, do the best you can with available help to keep the person still while maintaining an open airway.


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