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We Must Do Something

I’ve been living hard up against the Atlantic for 30 years, half my life.  And I’ve heard the pounding of rescue helicopters far, far too many times.  In those 30 years I cannot recall one time ever of a distressed swimmer rescued because a helicopter spotted them.

The helicopters are not for rescue.  They are for recovery.

When a swimmer is in trouble there is no time to bring in rescuers.  The window to save them is not fifteen or twenty minutes long.  It is probably five minutes.  Only people who are right there already have any chance.   We must have a way of protecting swimmers even at times when the beach is not officially open.

I have a plan and I ask any public official who might be reading this to please consider its adoption.

My plan would be to provide, on warm, sunny days, dawn to dusk lifeguard protection at three beaches, 5th Ave, 10th Ave, and 15th Ave.  This would be irrespective of whether the other beaches are open or not, but badges would still be required during times when the beaches are open.  During times when the beaches are not open but people might want to swim, signs should be posted at all the other entrances instructing people to go to one of the guarded beaches if they want to go in the water.  None of the guarded beaches would be more than two or three blocks away and badges would not be required.  If someone is stupid enough to swim at an unguarded beach when there is a free, guarded beach right nearby, well, the gene pool is probably better off without them.

I know it would cost money, but not that much money.  It could be very easily covered by the beach utility fund.

Anyway, what’s the cost of three lifeguards at each of three beaches when compared to the value of the lives of Mitzi Hernandez, her cousin Emily, and other victims that there will certainly be if we continue to do nothing?


  1. ALL TRUMPED UP wrote:

    I couldn’t agree with you any more. It will now be tweeked a bit and become Tom’s (Brennan’s) idea to help him at the polls.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    I don’t need the credit. Just do it.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink
  3. When Belmar is multi-millions of dollars in debt based on self-serving, unnecessary spending by our Mayor and Council, no one on our council or administration would dare stand in the way of protecting the lives of people drawn to our beaches based on a nominal expense. I’d go further. We have police officers standing around bars waiting for hell to break loose. I have a friend (a former NYPD officer) who year after year was given an assignment at a NYC beach. His nickname was “sandy shoes” because he and fellow officers WALKED the beach, stopped dangerous horse-play on the sand by visitors, and generally was an extra source of safety and security for all. Belmar pays officers out of the beach utility fund, money directly paid by the beach-going public. Get these valuable public servants where they should and need to be … serving the public. The argument for police patrolling neighborhoods (not standing in front of bars) deserves equal attention by the Mayor and Council. Safety, quality of life, and the long term future of Belmar is at stake.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    It’s good that Belmar will give $20k to the family from the mayor’s ball.

    Maybe in the future the mayors ball could donate $20k towards a beach patrol for after hour patrols to help prevent future tragedies.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink
  5. Eugene Creamer wrote:

    Start with the signage …. “Swim At Your Own Risk” is ineffective because most adults can’t define “Risk” …. neither can children.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    Agreed protect the swimmers. They merit protection more than the bars.
    Spend money in the right places, it will save lives.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink
  7. Betty wrote:

    Send a copy of your idea to the mayor and all the council members. Then whenever they have their next meeting we should as a community demand its implementation.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink
  8. admin wrote:

    I have made the same suggestion at past Council meetings.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink
  9. Tom Dilberger wrote:

    Hello Gene, I think “Swim at your own risk” is adequate. The point is this. Unfortunately, accidents occur. There is nothing that can stop them from happening. People see the signs and then act as they want whether it be a Stop sign, speed limit sign, yield sign, and so forth. It had nothing to do with the sign. Just another terrible accident.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink
  10. SEASHELL wrote:

    I like this plan. I also think maybe there can be implemented a “neighborhood watch”. Any adults on the boardwalk in the late afternoon or early and late evening keep an eye out for children in the water without an adult. …maybe they can report it to the police. We all need to keep an eye out. Kids will be kids. And unfortunately, terrible accidents can happen.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink
  11. Bill Straus wrote:

    good idea Dave I hope you can get it in. As a dive instructor I can tell you first hand how hard it is for people to survive without floatation in the water. Also swimming even 50 yards for even athletic types is exhausting and any attempt to swim in dangerous situations results in failure. A healthy respect for Ocean waters needs to be taught by PARENTS and teachers. A very simple addition to your idea should be in those guarded beaches several “noodles” we all know about supplied to bathers. Floatation will prevent anyone from drowning till help arrives it is imperative.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink
  12. Stupid Mayor wrote:

    matt rather spend money on overtime for cops at the drunk stands. The lifeguard stand idea on 3 beaches is great.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink
  13. Hmmm? wrote:

    accidents happen. I am sorry but guarded at 3 beachs will not prevent bathers from going in at unguarded beaches. People do what they want. All summer I sit near guards and listen to whistles blown for bathers not swimming near guards. That happens when there are more than 15 beaches guarded.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Permalink
  14. admin wrote:

    If the guards at the three guarded beaches have ATVs at least they would be close enough to get there quickly if something happens at one of the other beaches.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink
  15. OLD MAN wrote:

    Didn’t a merchant ship just hit the USS FITZGERALD? That was an accident? The Navy ship must have multiple radars. Somebody or a multitude of people screwed up. Signs , guards, police may all help but unfortunately these accidents with swimmers will happen again.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 7:24 pm | Permalink
  16. Anonymous wrote:

    The beaches should be gated after the lifeguards leave. Keep one beach open later with lifeguards and gate the rest.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 10:22 pm | Permalink
  17. Anonymous wrote:

    Dave the dialogue you’ve started is so refreshing. Thanks.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 10:31 pm | Permalink
  18. OLD MAN wrote:

    #16 Let’s drain the ocean also. My son used to work as a gate guard. Kids jumped in between the railings onto the beach. We can build a wall instead of railings. Very sad

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 6:03 am | Permalink
  19. shaking my head wrote:

    I like this idea – people should be allowed on the beach in the evenings just not in unguarded waters. I myself like to stroll the beach in the morning or late evenings. This is a part of what living at the beach is all about. Some of these people come from miles away and try to get the most out of the day by staying longer. Local people like the luxury of living so close that they can enjoy beach time after a day at work. This is why we pay to live here.

    Put the lifeguards on a few of the beaches. Have the Summer officers walking the beach not the boardwalk. Interact with beach goers. If they are in the water on unguarded beaches -ticket them.

    Change the signs from Swim at your own Risk to No swimming when lifeguards are not present.
    Also, signs should be in English and Spanish.

    I hope your plan is received by the town and implemented!

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink
  20. Cheers wrote:

    Citizens beach patrol, unpaid plenty of people would love to ride a beach buggy on the beach. Kids without guardians told to leave the water.

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink
  21. Anonymous wrote:

    Signs should not be in Spanish. English is the language spoken in America. Besides, if the terrible event happened to children from France would we now need to put up signs in French ? Or, what if they were from Zimbabwe ? I’m not even sure what they speak there. Signage isn’t the issue.

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink
  22. admin wrote:

    They speak English in Zimbabwe

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 8:03 am | Permalink
  23. Guest wrote:

    This is a unique accident, the child who is on life support, her parents live in Mexico.We need better latchkey services for children, so they have something to do after school.Both parents work in most families these days, that leaves a lot of older children watching younger brothers, sisters and relatives.God bless the family.

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink
  24. OLD MAN wrote:

    #23 My parents had a list of chores for me after school. It is NOT the Fed, State , County, or local governments responsibility to take care of every child. One reason why both parents work is because of very high taxes both Fed, State, County and Local

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink
  25. Anonymous wrote:

    Compassionate fares available from aisles. Chris Smith might be able go help.

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink
  26. legion wrote:

    The sign as is could be an issue in a lawsuit. Agreed that people disobey signs all the time, simple ones like “yield” or “stop”. A picture of a swimmer with an X over it should be understood in any language.

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink
  27. shaking my head wrote:

    #26 I love it – universal to everyone!

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink
  28. Tom Dilberger wrote:

    Ben’s Story of the Hatmaker’s Sign – YouTube

    This is where we’re going with all this talk of signs. What we have is adequate.
    Video for benjamin franklin hat sign 3:12

    Sep 7, 2015 – Uploaded by Tom Nalesnik
    Ben recalls his story of the Hatmaker’s Sign, which he originally told in 1776 to help cheer up Thomas …

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink
  29. Bill Straus wrote:

    What are these kids doing here without their parents, you people should all be asking that question and anything related to that issue. how did they get here, were the parents here and went back and left them here.
    Were they here legally? Who do they live here with if not their parents? Honest questioning is not heartless just honest questions.

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink
  30. OLD MAN wrote:

    #29 Those questions can’t be asked in a liberal town , state. It takes a village. You know what the damn libs want. More control over your life.

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink
  31. Guest wrote:

    This is all Matt deflecting, He built Taylor,ahead of the safety tower.

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 7:28 pm | Permalink
  32. Anonymous wrote:

    #29. Do not blame the children. Kids will be kids. Towns are supposed to think ahead and create strategies for the town to be safe for kids. A wide open beach without lifeguards is a disaster on a blazing hot week.
    Heard someone say today that these kids were often at the library. They were big readers it was said.
    Too bad we lost bright kids due to unprotected beaches.

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 8:14 pm | Permalink
  33. Anonymous wrote:

    #31, yep Taylor’s and Marina grill are done but Safety Pavillion is not. Follow the money,

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 8:16 pm | Permalink
  34. Beachgoer wrote:

    I love this idea especially for the off season when man power is low. I would take it a step further and have guards on until dusk at all beaches once school is out. People don’t get out of the water when guards go off duty during the hot months of summer. There is plenty of money in the beach fund and there is plenty of man power. Maybe we could get voted as the safest town then instead of best party scene.

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 8:27 pm | Permalink
  35. OLD MAN wrote:

    #31 Don’t get me wrong. Matt should resign. However who would be in the tower at 6:30pm?

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 8:33 pm | Permalink
  36. Eugene Creamer wrote:

    seems Belmar public safety is being managed with fundraisers.

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 10:16 pm | Permalink
  37. Bill Straus wrote:

    Old man who the .. are you to tell me what questions I can ask. you get what you deserve.

    Monday, June 19, 2017 at 10:17 pm | Permalink
  38. Anonymous wrote:

    #35 Someone should be in the tower all daylight hours. What is the point of only protecting swimmers until dinner hour. Lots of people go in the ocean until it is getting dark at 9 pm

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 12:22 am | Permalink
  39. OLD MAN wrote:

    #37 Uh duh It was my way of agreeing with you

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 6:15 am | Permalink
  40. Anonymous wrote:

    What does the Lifeguard Association say. We have Cecile Lear right in our backyard to get his considered advice.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink
  41. Beach goer wrote:

    There are more people in the water at 7pm, than at 9am when the lifeguards start their day.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink
  42. Sans Obituary wrote:

    Went online to read Mitzi’s obituary. There was none. If this happened to children not living in the shadows there would be serious issues with the parents whose actions endangered the girls lives. There is no liability or responsibility owed to the town and officials, but plenty to the parents or legal guardians. Unsupervised children face more than a turbulent ocean as a threat.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink
  43. Anonymous wrote:

    #42. Right on the money. These were children. Where was the supervision ???
    This can’t be blamed on lack of lifeguards or signage. Blaming this on anything the town did or didn’t do is idiotic.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink
  44. Bill Straus wrote:

    # 42 is right. If this had been American kids the parents or guardians would be in jail. The sad part is the libs want to be compassionate to these alien kids but they really don’t care a bit. Could you imagine if this were American kids what Matt would have been doing especially if they were from Republican parents, he’d have the Governor here. where is Tom Brennan and his high horse, where is Jennifer who cares so much about children, whoey!

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink
  45. Oldie wrote:

    #44 They will all being drinking free booze this week at the mayor’s ball within sight of this tragedy.Raise a glass!

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink
  46. Anonymous wrote:

    Does anyone see the problem with the town setting up the donation page ? It’s not the towns business and quite frankly, after the whole gift card debacle, why trust the town with any money ?

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink
  47. hanging.chad wrote:

    #46 Exactly. They don’t want to be sued. The borough is tracking the money? And how about that Buy a Board money diverted to paying off the Taylor Pavilion? The judge said that should not be done, but the mayor stated at a meeting that he will use it for the pavilion.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink
  48. OLD MAN wrote:

    #44 Thanks Somebody said it.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 7:22 pm | Permalink
  49. Tom Dilberger wrote:

    Does anyone know how I did in the balloting for citizen of the year honors – what place I came in?

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink
  50. ALL TRUMPED UP wrote:

    The donation and a couple of free bottles of beer at DJs may allow some people to sleep better at night not knowing whether decisions they made regarding the necessary manpower needed to police an additional town, may have contributed to this tragedy.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink
  51. callmecynical wrote:

    Some people have good hearts and intentions. Some think they do and are naive. Money always helps, but the devil loves to get into the middle of good intentions.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 8:58 pm | Permalink
  52. Anonymous wrote:

    Notching the jetties worsened RIP TIDES.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 10:04 pm | Permalink
  53. Anonymous wrote:

    Why isn’t the safety building open?

    Yes, it seems odd the town set up donation page, though there is also page set up by family friend.

    The town will likely be sued anyway. Is a sign saying swim at own risk enough to negate responsibility, doubt it.

    Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at 2:02 am | Permalink
  54. callmecynical wrote:

    The borough code says clearly within additional detail, no swimming when there are no lifeguards on duty. Saying ‘swim at your own risk’ is just an invitation to go ahead and take a chance.

    Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink
  55. Anonymous wrote:

    So what new safety measures are in place since the drownings? Why aren’t rope lines added, a wide open sea is too dangerous. And how about evening lifeguards and beaches that do not have guards after dusk locked up. And put some of the summer cops at the beach instead of on boardwalk.

    Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink
  56. Tom Dilberger wrote:

    Ladies and Gentlemen (Last time for me on this subject) There is absolutely nothing that can be done to stop such unfortunate occurrences. They’ve been happening for centuries and will continue to happen. Forget about the signs. They wouldn’t mean anything. This is what people do (children are people). Go to any municipal court around here and you can see all sorts of people being fined for not obeying signs (any day of the week). Interesting how people can’t understand we’re on our way out of this life, they day we get here/birth. Lastly, when I was a boy, a kid went into the Prospect Park zoo when it was closed and went into the bear enclosure (all sorts of signs that said the zoo was closed). Ofg course, the bears killed the kid He was about the same age as these girls. Things just happen over and over though time.

    Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink
  57. OLD MAN wrote:

    People in FL. during the new storm CINDY went into the ocean. Double Red Flags!!! Life guards had to drag the wet asses out. Thankfully nobody died. However these people should be fined and required to clean the toilets/houses etc wherever the Judge’s says.

    Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink
  58. belmarguy wrote:

    I’m glad the surfers and employees of eastern lines surf shop are doing a great job! This just goes to show you how everyone thinks its a joke!

    Running into water:

    Coming out being escorted by a cop:

    Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 6:44 pm | Permalink
  59. Anonymous wrote:

    Screaming little me mes who will run away as soon as there’s any trouble. Shame the cops have to babysit these folks rain or shine. Ninnys!

    Blockhead Beach surfing is dangerous without a storm churn. 6 years later, where are these jerks? Scoff law factory I suppose.

    Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 8:03 pm | Permalink
  60. belmarguy wrote:

    Two of the kids work at the surf shop and one of them is the current Chief’s nephew.

    Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 9:11 pm | Permalink
  61. Anonymous wrote:

    Parenting failed in their collective, showboat.

    Friday, June 23, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink
  62. Sad Choice wrote:

    Mayor’s ball the same day as a double funeral for Belmar school children.

    Friday, June 23, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink
  63. Really? wrote:

    How may meetings where council and mayor talked about the importance of the public safety building? But 5th ave building got done first. Mayor and council Priorities are wrong. Also, I am hearing that we are under staffed with guards. Anyone else hear that?

    Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink
  64. Anonymous wrote:

    Who on the Belmar Council deliberately mislead voters, whether those voters were legal or not, into believing that the 10th Avenue Pavilion was the driving, urgent force for post sandy construction? Hope all those Voters recognize that they were again tricked by getting the opportunity to spend a fortune for a white elephant at the cost of the $125 Per plate 5th Avenue Pavilion instead of our less expensive, sorely needed 10th Avenue Safety Pavilion.

    Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink
  65. madame.snark wrote:

    Order of importance for Mayor and Council: POLITICS NOT PEOPLE!
    1) What the mayor wants
    2) Photo ops and smarmy quotes in media
    3) Political clubhouse a.k.a. Taylor Pavilion
    4) Marina Grille
    5) Taking care of pay-to-players

    Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink
  66. Anonymous wrote:

    Still lots of swimmers in the ocean after lifeguards leave. What has been done to prevent more tragedies?

    Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink
  67. callmecynical wrote:

    Tragedies cannot be prevented, only lessened. People are responsible for themselves, except for small children or those who are somehow challenged. Too much “big brother” takes away individual freedom. Build a fence around the ocean and someone will find a way over it. Take a risk – you may perish. That is a fact of life. Do we want police watching over every move? I do not. I will not “unthink” my individual liberty here in the good old U.S.A.

    Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink
  68. Maker's Market wrote:

    Buy a pig in a poke and it’s still a piggy.

    Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink
  69. callmecynical wrote:

    #64 A certain person was pissed off because he could not “bundle” the funding for the two pavilions with the Lake Como pipe project, so I think the priority of the Taylor Pavilion was his way of getting even with the voters.

    I would like to see a list of the attendees of the mayor’s ball. I’ll betcha mostly pay-to-players, Belmar employees, Monmouth and Belmar Democrats and politicos were there, not many Belmar residents. I surely would not pay money to hang with that guy.

    Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 5:13 pm | Permalink
  70. admin wrote:

    Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
  71. callmecynical wrote:

    Thanks, admin. Gee, wish I were there…(had my fingers crossed).

    Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink
  72. Distrust creeps wrote:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he used Pat Pro to fill the house with her family and friends.

    I really like Pat she deserves our support and friendship anyway.

    Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink
  73. Avon badges wrote:

    2017 Beach Badge Prices:
    Season Badges $90.00
    Senior Citizens Badges (65 & over) $45.00
    Young Adult (ages 12 through 18) $45.00
    Daily Badges $9.00
    Age 11 and under; no charge
    We do not take credit or debit cards,
    badges can only be paid for
    with cash or by check.
    There are NO REFUNDS for
    lost or stolen badges.

    Monday, June 26, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Permalink
  74. Anonymous wrote:

    Too bad the beaches aren’t free like in Cali. Everyone should be able to access the beach. Lots of people do not have $9 for a daily badge.

    Monday, June 26, 2017 at 10:07 pm | Permalink
  75. anonymous70 wrote:

    #s 29, 33 – Unbelievable, yes? (On second thought, not so much). I can’t stomach this crooked, selfish, drunk twit of a mayor or most of the sheeple that sit on the council. The self-important borough administrator is no peach, either.

    Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

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