Another Drowning At The Jersey Shore [AUDIO]
Steve Stocks, the Captain of the Wildwood Beach Patrol, says of lifeguards, "When they're off-duty, you really shouldn't go in the water. It's not safe to swim on unguarded beaches."
He says, "When lifeguards aren't on duty, that's a risk behavior, and unfortunately, risk behaviors have consequences and sometimes they're deadly consequences. But if you're swimming in guarded waters, you're in good hands, you have well-trained, highly motivated enthusiastic lifeguards."
Stocks adds on most beaches you have, "highly trained enthusiastic individuals practicing preventative life-guarding. They're stopping you from getting in trouble. They're preventing you from being in rip currents, or getting out too far. They're evaluating your skill-set, your swimming level and they're keeping you safe all day long."
He points out when you have a large volume of water coming in through the waves, eventually that water returns back to the ocean, as a riptide.
"What happens is it will find an area of least resistance, and run back creating like a trough-area, and it can go as fast as 7-8 miles an hour. You don't want to waste your energy fighting against that rip-current. If you swim parallel to shore eventually, you can swim out of that current and then get back to shore safely."
Stocks adds, "If you're going in the ocean, a good safety guideline is to keep your feet firmly on the ground - that's even when the waves can be moderate or high and they're knocking you around a bit..and if you're out in the water over your head, that's when the guard would stand up, blow the whistle loud and clear, point to the individual, and move them in a bit. I've been a lifeguard for 27 years, drownings have occurred when a lifeguard is not on duty. "
Coast Guard Petty Officer Crystalynn Kneen agrees.
She says, "Eighty percent of the people who have drowned in a year were not wearing a life-jacket. I understand they are kinda bulky, I understand they don't look the coolest when you're out on the water, but there's many types of lifejackets."
Kneen points out, "It is a law for children 12 and under to wear one. The ocean is a dangerous place and things can happen unexpectedly."