Barnegat, NJ — Unable to staff the Barnegat Township bay bathing beach with lifeguards, the township has announced the area of Bayshore Drive will be unguarded this summer. Speaking at the July 2 township committee meeting, where a question was raised during the public portion, Committeeman Albert Bille read from a report submitted by Jean Broadbent, recreation director. He said that at the beginning of the year, she contacted all of the lifeguards who worked there in 2018 requesting a notice of their return, but all declined.
“January 2019 – I contacted all the 2018 Township lifeguards and requested notice of their return.
“From February to May, I advertised job openings for the position of Lifeguards,” read Bille. “Received one application.”
Bille said that in April, Broadbent asked Township Administrator Martin Lisella to contact a company to outsource the lifeguards.
“Candlewood Pools was contacted and asked to submit a proposal to take over the lifeguards for both the bay beach as well as the Waretown Lake,” she wrote. “Candlewood Pools thanked me for interest but had to decline submitting proposals to take over the lifeguards due to the fact that they could not find enough applicants themselves to run the pool contracts that they currently had.”
Bille said after discussions with the Joint Insurance Fund and legal counsel, the township decided to do away with the position of lifeguards and posted signage stating “Unprotected Beach, No Lifeguards on Duty.”
“The problem was not and is not money, as the township had already budgeted for expense,” he said. “The problem was and is that no one applied.”
Bille said without guards, the town cannot mark a designated swimming area using buoys.
The committeeman said first-year guards make $10 an hour, $11 per hour the next year and then $12 an hour after two years. Most of the guards are in their late teens or early 20s.
“I don’t know why we can’t (get) them to work here,” said Bille. “But apparently, other places are having similar problems.”
Mayor Alfonso Cirulli added that the beach will continue to be cleaned on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.