June Arrives

 June Arrives

By by Kailey Aiken

Happy June! We’ve been lucky to have some great beach weather over this past week, and the water is starting to feel less and less like an ice bath every day. On Beach 97th Street, Senior Skip Day has apparently grown into a “Senior Skip Month,” seeing as swarms of high schoolers have piled onto the beach from every direction on any weekday with decent weather so far. I’m not entirely sure what the draw to Beach 97th Street is for what seems to be every high school senior in the tri-state area, but they all find their way here. Someone must be spreading the word that all the nutcracker men pass through here.

The ocean has been fairly calm this week, but lifeguards did go in for a small case (rescue) on Tuesday afternoon when three teenagers were caught in the rip at Beach 97th Street. The victims were brought swiftly to shore, and more swimmers began listening when we whistled them out of the rip after that.

The FDNY has a new robotics program in place at the beach, equipped with a high-tech drone that is able to carry a small buoy to a swimmer in distress if need be. The drone can be used to fly over closed beach sections throughout the day and over any beaches after 6 p.m. to search for swimmers in trouble where lifeguards aren’t present and drop a buoy to them. A rescue swimmer from their team would then be sent out to bring the victim in. Having an extra set of eyes, especially after 6 p.m. when lifeguards are off duty and on closed beaches, can be so crucial to saving lives this summer. Throughout the past few years, we’ve seen far too many avoidable tragedies that have occurred because there was nobody there to help. This is a step in the right direction using new technology to make our beaches safer.

On the marine life side of things, dolphins and whales have been spotted swimming all over Rockaway. On Beach 97th Street, a large part of a tail of a white sturgeon washed up on the shore on Tuesday (which we figured out after a few phone calls and Google searches), leading some beachgoers to believe there was a “sea snake,” “dinosaur,” or “very, very large fish” on the shoreline. Many of them also expected us to know what animal it was on the spot, how it died, and where in the ocean it came from, but unfortunately marine biology is not a part of our lifeguard training.

A few people have also come up to the chair to ask the weather forecast (for the entire week, one person wanted to know) and what they should eat for lunch (the answer is always Seany Pizza). So maybe we should add weatherman and food connoisseur to the job description too. All in all, it’s been a great start to the season!

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