Safety top of mind at local beaches as Memorial Day weekend kicks off summer season

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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Safety top of mind at local beaches ahead of Memorial Day weekend
Anthony Carlo is live in Rockaway Beach with details on the start of the summer beach season.

ROCKAWAY BEACH, Queens (WABC) -- Summer is officially less than a month away and thousands will flock to the waters in our area for Memorial Day weekend.

Rockaway Beach will be a popular destination and officials there want visitors to have a good time -- but a safe time as well.

The New York City Parks Department says they are expecting roughly 900 lifeguards, which is better than last summer, but still shy of the 1,000 needed to be considered fully staffed.

That means there will likely be some unmanned lifeguard chairs. Those areas will be marked with appropriate flags to let swimmers know there is no swimming in certain areas.

All New York City beaches officially open to the public on Saturday and lifeguards will be on duty daily from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. through Sept. 8.

Swimming is strictly prohibited at all other times, which is important to remember especially in the Rockaways where there were at least two deadly drownings last summer.

"Every year we lose precious members of our communities to drownings, we really urge you to be smart, to really take in the sun and have fun but to also preserve your life and take it seriously, while the ocean may look calm, it is dangerous," said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.

And in Monmouth County, New Jersey, officials held a press conference outside the historic Stone Pony to sing the praises of tourism at the Jersey Shore.

Michelle Charlesworth has more from the Jersey Shore as summer tourism season begins.

Just last year tourism in the area brought in more than $29 million of revenue thanks to 10 million visitors.

The summer season also brings crucial jobs to the area.

"Our tourism supported nearly 24,000 Monmouth County jobs and that's what's big -- let's put things in perspective, we all have children and young people that need jobs and Monmouth County tourism, along with local towns, they are putting people to work," said County Commissioner Director Thomas Arnone.

Officials also announced several festivals, carnivals and concerts planned for the summer.

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