Virus Hurt Beach Revenue, Changed Lifeguarding

The view from Brick Beach 1. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  BRICK – Season beach badge sales were way up this year, but the sale of daily beach badges was way down since the public was worried about the cap that had been placed, said director of recreation Dan Santaniello. For social-distancing purposes, the daily badge sales were limited to 25 each for Brick Beaches 1, 2 and 3, for a daily total of 75.

  There were 10,106 season badges sold this year as compared to 7,187 sold last year. There were 7,535 daily badges sold this year as compared to 18,542 sold last year.

  “We hit that number of daily badges within an hour, and it got to be earlier and earlier as the summer progressed,” Santaniello said from his office at Civic Plaza recently.

  “In the beginning of the summer, we were sold out by 10 a.m. and we had to turn people away, then we were sold out by 9:15, and then in August, we sold out as early as 8:30,” he said. “It was a tricky season with everything that’s going on.”

  People had a hard time accepting that they couldn’t get on the beach, he said. “It was a lot of stress on the supervisors, they had to deal with that a lot.”

  Factoring in all badge and parking sales, total income for 2020 was $474,483, down slightly from $495,718 last year.

  The coronavirus also changed the way lifeguards train, Santaniello said, and they had to be less hands-on than in the past.

  For example, new procedures were instituted for CPR and first aid. All breaths had to be performed by a bag, a change from the previous valve masks so there would be no exchange of breaths.

Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn

  In the past, if someone needed first aid for a small cut, a lifeguard would apply the bandage, but this summer the lifeguards would hand the bandage over and the patient would apply it themselves.

  “Otherwise we had to gown up (in personal protective equipment) and fill out a lengthy COVID form,” Santaniello said. “It was a lot, so we just gave them the bandage or product.”

  Another change was lifeguards would social distance from each other on the lifeguard stands. One would sit in the seat and one would sit on the footrest.

  Brick lifeguards performed 13 rescues this summer, 32 water assists and three lost persons, who were all found walking on the beaches.

  At 4:30 p.m. on Labor Day, a half hour before closing down for the winter, lifeguards were stowing away all the equipment and winterizing the jet skis. Long-time beach captain Donovan Brown told them to keep one of the jet skis out until the end of the day.

  “Then we had one of our biggest rescues of the year,” Santaniello said. “Four young teenagers got sucked out by a big rip current just north of Brick Beach 1, which was an unguarded beach at the time.”

  About 15 lifeguards helped with the rescue. They put up red flags at the beaches (to keep people out of the water) and used their all-terrain vehicles and the jet ski and performed a successful rescue on the youngsters, he said.

  “At the end of the year, the lifeguards always get a standing ovation, so to end the season with such a big, big save, they really got a big standing ovation,” Santaniello said. “They filed a report and then we were done.”