LAVALLETTE — Council members have asked that beach patrons follow safety protocols on the beach, citing reported abuse against lifeguards and police following safety procedures for inclement weather.
The matter was discussed at Monday night’s council meeting when Councilmember Joanne Filappone addressed the lightning detector siren in Ortley Beach, which picks up lightning within a 10 mile radius, having gone off seven times the previous weekend.
According to Councilmember Michael Stogdill, if this alarm goes off, the lifeguards are required to leave the beach and notify patrons of the danger, even though they have the right to stay at their own risk. “No swimming, the beaches are effectively closed, the guards cannot go back on for 30 minutes from the last lightning strike,” he said.
Ms. Filappone said that many beach patrons had chosen not to follow lifeguard advice. “I understand that there was some verbal abuse of [the guards], when they were asked to leave and they started bad mouthing the lifeguards,” she said.
This was confirmed by Mr. Stogdill, who said that there had been “a lot of hand gesture abuse towards our lifeguards” on Sunday and that police had been called in to assist with warning patrons of the incoming danger.
“[It] wasn’t easy, a lot of people just decided that they knew better, but that is the law,” Mr. Stogdill said. “[It] can be expected in the future that there are laws and there are fines for them.”
“If the lifeguards leave the beach, you’re now not only taking your life in our hands in terms of lightning, but you’re swimming at your own risk because you’re not being guarded,” said Ms. Filappone.
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