By MADDY VITALE
Heading into the last few weeks of summer, Ocean City Beach Patrol Chief Mark Jamieson summed up what he thought was the best description of the season.
“This is a summer to remember,” Jamieson said in an interview Monday. “Definitely one of the best ones. I can only remember one day when it rained start to finish. This is a season to remember as far as consecutive sunny days.”
Although he did not have statistics in front of him, he noted that what appeared to be packed beaches on any given weekend was no mirage.
“This is the best summer in the last few years,” Jamieson said. “The beach count has risen.”
Back in July, the city’s Chief Financial Officer Frank Donato said all of the indicators from beach tag sales to parking revenue showed that this may be a banner season in Ocean City with visitors flocking to the beaches, the Boardwalk, bayfront and downtown.
“Pre-season beach tag sales are always good early indicators of what the summer season may be like,” Donato said then. “Most people come in to make their pre-season purchases to get the discounts. They are making a commitment to come back in the summer.”
Beach tag sales are considered a key barometer of the strength of the summer season. Sales topped last year’s pre-season figure for purchases on or before May 31 by $62,000, for a total of $2,121,000 in beach tag sales.
The city’s 7-mile-long beachfront, which is much bigger than neighboring towns, allows it to handle enormous crowds. At the peak of summer, an estimated 150,000 vacationers visit Ocean City, a community with roughly 11,000 year-round residents.
Ocean City tops all of the other shore towns in the state in total beach tag revenue, often coming in at or near the $4 million mark.
But as the summer draws to a close, so do guarded beaches. Lifeguards go back to college, high school and full-time jobs, Jamieson said.
“When we are at full staff with administration, EMTs and lifeguards, we are at 185 people,” he said. “Right now, we are at 160. By the end of the week, there will be a significant loss in guards and our total staff will be about 140.”
He stressed that beachgoers must swim only at guarded beaches.
“As the number of lifeguards dwindle toward Labor Day, people need to keep an eye on updated beach closures,” he said of beaches without guards. “If you find the beach you are going to doesn’t have a guarded beach anymore, use a beach close by it.”
Jamieson added that up to Labor Day, Ocean City Beach Patrol will guard certain beaches.
“Always keep informed of the guarded beaches,” he urged bathers and other beachgoers.
To keep updated on guarded beaches visit www.ocnj.us.
For questions, call 609-525-9200. First Aid Stations are located at First Street, 12th Street, 34th Street and the 59th Street Lifeguard Headquarters.
Jamieson said Ocean City Beach Patrol has many dedicated staff members.
“We are happy to be able to maintain the same closing schedule as the last few years,” he said.
Jamieson noted that many of the guards go to school locally or in Philadelphia and come back to guard the beaches on the weekends until the end of the season to help with manpower.
“They do a great job, especially considering the amount of people we have coming here throughout the summer,” Jamieson said. “We feel we do a good job for people who come to vacation in Ocean City.”
Ocean City Beach Patrol will no longer provide lifeguards at the following beaches for the rest of the season, according to a notice listed on www.ocnj.us.
• Seaview Road
• Waverly Blvd.
• Atlantic Blvd.
• 13th Street
• 16th Street (Surfing Beach)
• 17th Street
• 20th Street
• 48th Street
• 60th Street
Ocean City Beach Patrol will guard the following beaches from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekends and holidays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
• Seaspray Road
• Surf Road
• North Street
• Stenton Place
• St. Charles Place
• Delancey Place
• Park Place
• Brighton Place (Guarded until 7 p.m.)
• Fifth Street
• Seventh Street Surfing Beach
• 8th Street (Guarded until 7 p.m.)
• 9th Street (Guarded until 7 p.m.)
• 10th Street
• 11th Street
• 12th Street (Guarded until 7 p.m.)
• 14th Street
• 15th Street
• 18th Street
• 22nd Street
• 24th Street
• 26th Street
• 28th Street
• 30th Street
• 32nd Street
• 34th Street (Guarded until 7 p.m.)
• 36th Street
• 39th Street
• 42nd Street
• 44th Street
• 46th Street
• 50th Street
• 53rd Street
• 55th Street
• 58th Street