Happy Fourth of July!

 Happy Fourth of July!

By by Kailey Aiken

The peak summer season is upon us, and the beach has been beautiful for the past week. New lifeguards take the ocean test this week and can stop shadowing and begin sitting in the chair alone after passing. As the lifeguard shortage continues, it will be a relief to have some more guards in Rockaway.

On Saturday, lifeguards on Beach 106th took part in a submersion for what turned out to be a false alarm, luckily. Two boogie boards appeared to wash up on the shore and their owners were nowhere to be seen. Lifeguards dove in a submersion line for about an hour before the two people were found walking on the boardwalk. It’s always better to be safe than sorry with something like this, and it was a great relief when it turned out nobody was in the water.

The Fourth of July is typically one of the busiest, if not the busiest, days on the beach. At Beach 97, we’re prepared for huge crowds, rain or shine. As of now, there is a chance of rain, but we know that won’t change much. Just last year a thunderstorm hit around noon, and we had to clear the water and a jam-packed beach before heading back to the shack. PEP assisted us in kicking people off the sand, but there’s always a few who never listen. While sitting in the office of the shack and keeping an eye on the beach, lifeguards spotted some beachgoers sneaking back into the water near the rock jetty on Beach 98th Street.

Naturally, a group of them got caught in the rip and began struggling. We all ran from the shack in a hurry to get down to the water. Half of us in orange and the other half still in board shorts and bikinis, some throwing buoys up from the container while others caught them from the boardwalk. It was a motley crew of lifeguards sprinting to the beach. We got in the water and were able to grab all of the people out there while waiting for buoys, and then brought everyone to shore, rain still coming down and thunder booming in the distance.

The beach reopened shortly after our thunderstorm case (rescue), and there were plenty more cases as the day went on. So whether it’s a beautiful cloudless day, raining cats and dogs, or anything in between, I think we’ve learned you can never know what to expect on the beach, especially on the busiest holiday of the summer. For all the beachgoers this Fourth of July, stay safe and don’t swim during thunderstorms (please)!

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