Summer is Here

A couple of beautiful days this week have finally made it feel like summer is really here. Those celebrating Father’s Day on the beach this Sunday were treated to a perfect beach day: warm, sunny, and calm waters for the most part. A great mix for patrons and lifeguards alike. The following day, beaches were even more packed since everybody was off from work and school for Juneteenth. The weather was even nicer than Sunday, but the water was notably rougher which made our jobs a little bit more difficult.

On Beach 97th Street, Monday turned out to be the most hectic day of the year (for now, at least). The morning started off with a shark sighting right off the 98th Street rock jetty which caused us to close the entire bay (94th Street to 98th Street) for almost two hours. Helicopters flew back and forth overhead to ensure the water was clear, and we were able to open again around 1 p.m. Once lifeguards returned to the towers and the water was declared safe, we were kept busy with a boogie boarder drifting out to sea, two missing (and then found) children, and back-to-back rock jetty cases (rescues).

The rock jetties may be great for lengthening our beaches and protecting them from erosion, but they cause some issues for lifeguards. The rocks create strong rip currents in the water on both sides of the jetty that easily pull swimmers out and make it very difficult to escape if you aren’t a strong swimmer or don’t know the ocean well. Sometimes people are even pulled into the rocks, which becomes treacherous for victims and lifeguards alike as the waves push anyone in the vicinity into sharp, barnacle-covered, submerged rocks that’ll cut you up. This was exactly the case on 98th Street when a victim was pulled into the end of the rocks, refused to move, and had to be pulled off and led to safety around the other side of the rocks by lifeguards. Basically, if you plan on swimming in Rockaway this summer, stay far away from the rocks!

On another note, the regular softball season started up this past Monday night after work. Midtown played Downtown in a rematch of last year’s championship game which ended in the same result- Midtown took the win, defeating Downtown with a score of 10-7. On the other side of the field, 117 took down Uptown with a score of 15-10.

New lifeguards (horns) have begun their beach training as they slowly trickle in after passing their pool test. They’ll spend some time up at 149 learning how to use beach equipment and shadowing senior guards, and then hopefully will be sent out to shacks soon to give us some more manpower across the beach. Fingers crossed they’ll be sent out to us by the Fourth of July, which is sure to make Monday look like a joke compared to the craziness that almost always ensues for that day!


Rockaway Stuff

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