Long Beach Township to Open All Beaches to Summertime Surfing in 2017
Long Beach Township is adhering to a pledge to open up all of its 12 divided miles of ocean beach to summertime surfing beginning next year, as the current storm damage reduction project concludes. “Eight years ago, when I became mayor, I promised everybody once the beach replenishment was completed, we’d open it all up,” Mayor Joseph Mancini said Monday. “We have more room now, and the jetties don’t come into play,” post-beachfill.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $128 million contract to Great Lakes Dock and Dredge Co. in December 2014 to complete the LBI beachfill project, a joint effort of the USACE and the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection. Currently, as part of that same contract, replenishment repair work on previously restored beaches in a southern section of the township is underway, to be followed by work in Ship Bottom.
Surfers, standup paddleboarders, kayakers and fishermen are permitted anywhere in the waters off Long Beach Island during the off-season months, but in the summer, when lifeguards are on duty from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the ocean beaches, swim zones are established with flags planted in the sand.
In 2008, the township had just seven beaches designated for surfing. In the years after, additional surf beaches were added; as of this year, 21 beaches allowed surfing on the guarded beaches. Yellow flags designate the swim areas, and blue flags, to the sides of the swim areas, mark the surf zones.
Ship Bottom and Barnegat Light allow surfing outside the flags on all beaches, and now Long Beach Township is following suit.
“Since 2008, the Board of Commissioners has worked together with our community to improve our beaches and ensure the public’s enjoyment of all the unique activities our island offers,” township officials said in a statement. “In 2017 we will realize our goal to open all township ocean beaches to surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and fishing.” —J.K.-H.