Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Lifeguard at the Jersey Shore?
There's no shortage of in-shape men and women looking to keep you safe at the Jersey Shore this summer.
For the first time in 2017, lifeguards are climbing their posts this weekend to keep an eye on the waters and countless swimmers.
In order for management to even consider an applicant as a potential lifeguard in Long Branch, one must prove their physical abilities in the form of a 500-meter swim and two-mile run.
That swim needs to be completed in under 10 minutes. The maximum time for a two-mile run is 18 minutes, said public beach manager Dan George.
The city hires 15 to 20 new guards per year, he said. The city's two-mile stretch of beach has 17 lifeguard stands.
Wally Wall, the beach department manager for Manasquan, just submitted a list of about 50 names for approval from the town.
Many of the guards have been patrolling Manasquan's beaches for at least five years — some for decades. This year's hiring process featured about 25 to 30 new applicants. New or old, swimming and running qualification is a must.
Beyond the initial test, physical training — in the form of rowing, swimming or running — is required before each guard's shift.
"So if you've had a good night or a bad night you're going to sweat off what you did and be ready to work, and that's part of the job," Wall said.
New recruits can not sit on a chair alone during their first summer, Wall noted.
There will be lifeguards manning the beaches over Memorial Day Weekend in Wildwood, and every summer weekend that follows, but "peak season" doesn't really hit until July 1, according to Steve Stocks, chief of the Wildwood Beach Patrol.
June 10 is test day in the city, where wannabe lifeguards will compete for slots on the staff with their timed swims and runs.
"We have about 70 lifeguards when we're on full staff," Stocks said. "We try to have them finished up, trained up and ready to go on July 1."
Like most shore towns, Stock makes sure to sign up more guards than there are slots because availability is shaky in the few weeks leading up to mid-June and in late August.
George, with Long Branch beaches, said local teachers and high school teachers tend to "hold down the fort" when college students have to leave their posts leading up to Labor Day Weekend.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.