By Maddy Vitale
Time is running out to get preseason Ocean City beach tags. So, for everyone who loves to bask on the beaches, enjoy the surf and spend time with friends and family on their favorite sandy spot, it only makes sense to save a few dollars by buying the badges early.
Seasonal tags will be sold at a discounted price of $20 through May 31. After that date, the price goes up to $25.
Beach tags may be purchased at the Roy Gillian Welcome Center, City Hall and other locations in town. They may also be bought online on the city’s website at www.ocnj.us/beachtags.
And if the revenue from preseason sales are any indication, it appears beachgoers are taking advantage of the savings, according to figures supplied by Frank Donato, the city’s chief financial officer.
Like the 2018 summer season, statistics show people are heading out to buy badges early, and maybe even more so.
Donato said early tag sales are up “marginally” from last year.
“We are pretty much right on point with last year as of April 30,” he said.
In 2018, the preseason beach tag sales were $725,495 through April. For the same period this year, the amount is $730,455. That is up, Donato noted, by $4,960, or 248 tags.
“In 2018 it was a strong preseason year for us, so to be keeping pace and even up marginally we see as a positive sign,” Donato said.
He said earlier spring sales were lower in 2019 than 2018. However, he explained it was most likely due to the Palm Sunday and Easter weekends falling earlier on the calendar in 2018.
“April was way up,” he said of 2019.
In 2018, the city sold the most seasonal beach tags – a little over 119,000 – since 2011, Donato said.
Ocean City annually leads all New Jersey shore towns in beach tag sales because of its sheer size. The city’s 7-mile-long beachfront is much bigger than neighboring towns, allowing it to handle enormous summer crowds that can swell to about 150,000 people, compared to the year-round population of 11,700.
Ocean City reaped nearly $4 million in beach tag sales in 2018. The figure includes daily, weekly and seasonal tags. The all-time high of nearly $4.2 million in beach tag revenue came in 2015.
Beach tag revenue covers the cost of keeping the beaches clean, employing lifeguards, hiring summer police officers and paying for the city’s share of beach replenishment projects in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
For more information about how to purchase beach tags visit www.ocnj.us/beachtags.