Beach Haven Guards Pit Blue vs. Gold, and Everyone Wins

Aug 14, 2018
Photo by: Morgan Turner

Clouds parted and a rainbow appeared above Beach Haven’s ever-popular Centre Street beach as the Beach Haven Beach Patrol kicked off its annual Blue Versus Gold tournament on Monday, Aug. 13. Named after the patrol’s main colors, the in-house tournament has become an end-of-summer staple for both the patrol and its supporters.

With a heavy emphasis on training aimed at emergency preparedness to protect the public from day-to-day beach dangers, the Beach Haven Beach Patrol is not typically a top contender in Island-wide lifeguard tournaments. It has, however, developed an incredible reputation as a patrol.

Chief Mike Lawrence’s emphasis on swimmer safety above all else has built a solid, capable patrol. Throughout this summer Beach Haven lifeguards have successfully completed more than 300 saves and counting. With the increasing prevalence of rip currents, vigilance and proper training have become integral factors in ocean safety. The Blue Versus Gold tournament allows Beach Haven’s lifeguards to showcase their talents in front of their friends, family and the public while celebrating the success they have had thus far.

Like many other lifeguard tournaments, participants compete in swimming, paddling, rowing and running events. Unlike other tournaments, however, Blue Versus Gold emphasizes the capacity of the team over that of the individual through multiple relay events. A successful team requires full cooperation from all of its members.

As the name suggests, the patrol is divided into two teams. The penultimate event, a tug of war, particularly emphasizes the importance of the team; the Blue Team was able to come out on top after developing a tactical approach that bested the Gold Team’s pure brawn. Other events included a swim relay, an iron man event and a guard favorite: the beach flags race.

For the lifeguards, the event is always highly anticipated. According to third-year veteran Mac Van Buskirk, 18, of Haddonfield, “Blue and Gold is a great event because it really shows what the patrol is capable of. It highlights what we have to offer as a patrol to the beach patrons.”

For fourth-year veteran Brooke Turner, 20, of Chester, “Blue and Gold is about letting loose – there’s no stress or pressure. A lot of times a winner isn’t even announced.

“But we get to come together and celebrate a great summer of saving lives.”

For rookie Kameron Davis, 16, of Beach Haven, the competition “was really fun and a great thing to be a part of. There’s great friendly competition between the people in the patrol.”

With the final event ending just before sunset, the beach patrol wrapped up another successful Blue Versus Gold on Centre Street. The patrol will continue to guard the beaches between 12th Street and Nelson Avenue through Labor Day.

The Beach Haven Beach Patrol headquarters is located on the beach at Centre Street. For additional information, visit the patrol headquarters Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; or call (609) 492-9193.

— Morgan Turner

(Photo by: Morgan Turner)
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