Guards Devalued

Aug 02, 2017

To the Editor:

The crown jewel of LBI is its beaches. They are the lifeline of our economy and the reason for our being. Their safety has been entrusted to young men and women whose efforts, dedication and service to the community are devalued by those to whom they must answer. Many have second jobs that allow them to be your lifeguards, but this does not discourage the youth who aspire to work the beaches and the parents who pay for their LIT training.

Each year the Long Beach Township guards compete in the Mayor’s Cup competition. It’s a long-held tradition enthusiastically supported by parents, family, friends, tourists, kids who will be tomorrow’s lifeguards and all the old dudes who served from prior generations.

Weather is always a guard’s challenge. This year’s competition was scheduled for Friday and Saturday, July 21 and July 22. Friday night’s competition was not impacted by weather. Saturday at 4 p.m. the planners of the event postponed it for anticipated thunderstorms. The weather remained calm and clear all night. The event was rescheduled for Sunday night.

The morning of this event the weather called for storms and northeast winds, a report that would have pre-empted bathers from using the beaches. This event was not postponed by the planners, who are compensated for their duties. The waters proved to be threatening and dangerous, an obvious observation of all the participants and attendees. It was the responsible action of a team leader to address the planners and protest the night’s event because of the inherent danger. Prior to this action, boats were flipped in the waters with rowers thrown overboard.

Our guards are not compensated for the training, preparation and participation in these events, nor do they have the security of job-related insurance. Given these circumstances, guards were left to protect their own.

As with everything else in life, we look to the top for leadership. Throughout the past several years of competitions the mayor of Long Beach Township has neither acknowledged nor publicly supported this event, the Mayor’s Cup.

This event is a community effort. Its responsible participants have enhanced the office of mayor. Mr. Mayor, perhaps in the age of tweets a “thank you, good work, guys” might be appropriate. You think?

C. Smiles

Beach Haven

The writer is a parent and grandparent of township guards and LIT trainees.




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