June Winds Down as Summer Heats Up

 June Winds Down  as Summer Heats Up

It is always a sad day in Rockaway when lives are lost on the beach after hours. On Friday, two teens went missing in the water shortly after 6 p.m. in Riis Park. The U.S. Coast Guard, FDNY, and NYPD conducted a thorough search beginning Friday evening which was suspended late Saturday when neither of the teens were found. We can only hope that the people visiting our beaches and in our own community take this tragedy as a further sign to swim safely and only during lifeguard hours.

Last week’s heat wave has stretched into this week as well, and 97 Shack has seen a lot more crowded days than empty ones, even on weekdays. Saturday started out as another beautiful day, but thunderstorms rolled in during the afternoon and stuck around almost until 6 p.m. It was a nice break in the day for lifeguards, but probably ruined a lot of beachgoers’ plans.

A few days of a consistent north wind have brought icy temperatures back to our waters, to the point where multiple people have come up to the chair to complain that their feet are numb. You would think the lifeguards were forcing them to go in with the way some have complained to us about the temperatures. Hopefully the wind switches and the water warms back up soon.

On Sunday, the wind was brutal all day long and the waves became larger and choppier every hour. I’m not sure how enjoyable it was for anyone to be swimming in there, but the water was packed until we whistled everyone out at 6 p.m. Due to the treacherous conditions, all walkers were up on the shoreline from 4 p.m. on, for extra surveillance. Many shacks were instructed to keep bathers in and keeping people out of rip currents was nearly impossible. It sounded like there was a choir of whistles on Beach 97th Street all afternoon.

While standing on the Beach 98th Street jetty, two lifeguards spotted a swimmer in distress on 100th Street (an un-lifeguarded, closed beach), acted quickly to go in for the case (rescue), and were able to bring the person into shore safely.

There have been a few other cases over the past few days, but nothing out of the ordinary for a busy beach. New lifeguards have slowly been getting sent to Rockaway and more are expected this week, which is a relief. With public school just ending, things will kick up this weekend and continue into Fourth of July weekend and beyond. It’s only the beginning!


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