☀ Shore towns are still trying to get lifeguards on board

☀ A full complement of guards typically isn't possible until school is out

☀ There are beaches that are already being guarded daily

It may be a beach day, but your favorite spot along New Jersey's coast might not be guarded just yet.

The hiring of lifeguards is still underway at many spots along the shore. And in plenty of towns, like North Wildwood, not until mid- to late June will you see guards manning the sand on a daily basis.

"We actually just had tryouts this past weekend, so now we know who we have coming in for this upcoming year," said Julie Blackmon, a lieutenant with the North Wildwood Beach Patrol.

Hiring is a yearly process — patrols can't count on everyone from the prior year to sign on again.

In Ventnor, the beach patrol plans to take on eight to 10 "rookies" following their lifeguard test on June 9.

"Right now, we have four protected beaches. We'll open up six this weekend, and then by the 22nd of June we'll have all 11 of them open," said Ventnor Beach Patrol Chief Stan Bergman.

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Hiring occurs so close to the summer season due to the scheduling constraints of potential hires. Many are students and teachers who are still in school, and/or individuals who only live in the shore town during the summer months.

In Ocean City, the beach patrol is putting 30 individuals through "rookie school" as a result of lifeguard testing on June 1, according to Allan Karas, director of operations.

Hiring over the past few years has been a bit of a struggle in shore towns because of complications related to the coronavirus pandemic, but hiring in 2024 has been solid in Ocean City, Karas said.

The beach patrol has about 190 people on staff — until the calendar approaches September and guards have to return to their off-season commitments.

"We know there's a cliff that comes, and we prepare for that," Karas said.

Starting pay for a lifeguard in Ocean City is $18.50 per hour.

Several segments of Ocean City's beaches are already being guarded on a daily basis.

Officials in Seaside Heights say their beach patrol was successful in "filling out" its ranks sooner than later this year.

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