2020 Sea Bright Ocean Rescue
10/12/18 Our colleague, former US Marine and close friend Chris Leicht has completed SQT and received his Trident and jump wings roughly two years from joining the Navy. Chris has completed one of the hardest military training programs in the world. He will begin paramedic school in December hopefully bringing him back to NJ for his EMT-P field rotations. Great Job Chris, You "killed" it bro! we are all very proud of you. Hooyah!!
December 2018: Our colleague and close friend completed Marine Corps boot camp. Now USMC PFC Lane has become the second Sea Bright lifeguard to finish specialized military training in 2018. Lane has completed one of the hardest basic amphibious military training programs in the world. He will begin AIT next month as well as RECON and Combat Swimmer School in the coming year. We are super proud of Curran and we hope he will be able to return to the beach soon. We all knew you could do it bro! You're the man!
Earlier this summer, lifeguards were surprised to find a super cool gift from Highlands' residents Joanna and Larry Pomason. The Pomason's purchased and then donated two heavy duty beach cruisers specifically for our lifeguards to utilize for our river lifesaving operations and general tasks. We cannot thank Joanna and Larry enough for this quiet act of generosity. The Pomason's donated these bikes to "make the lifeguards day a little easier." Sea Bright's river lifeguards appreciate this donation and will use these bikes for many many years to come.
On May 1st 2018 Sea Bright Ocean Rescue's Surf Rescue Team 43-88 obtained certification by the USLA as an Aquatic Rescue Response Team placing us in the company of less than 12 teams nationally and one of 2 certified teams in NJ. We are the only USLA certified lifeguard agency in the country with a USLA certified rescue team.
In the late 1800’s the United States formed it’s first maritime life saving service to rescue distressed crewmen from shipwrecks and provide a place of refuge for those crewman stranded along the remote shores of early America. The men assigned to the USLSS lifesaving stations were known as “Surfmen” their job, to patrol the shoreline in search of distressed vessels. The duty of a lifesaving boat crew was to respond to a distressed vessel and rescue it’s sailors. The USLSS had no regulations requiring the crews to return to the station from a rescue, but they had to go out…..and they always did.
Known as "Sea Bright Public" the main beach has been watched by lifeguards for at least 100 years. Local Sea Bright (area) lifeguards for a century have been pulling people from the Atlantic Ocean and making history in the process. The only US lifeguard on duty to ever be attacked by a shark was in 1917. A Sea Bright (area) lifeguard pulling an empty barrel for a swim workout suffered a non-fatal shark bite to the leg. It is unknown if the injured lifeguard was employed by the boro or if he was a beach club employee.
In 2003 Sea Bright obtained Agency Certification from the United States Lifesaving Association. To date Sea Bright's lifeguard services has documented well over 840 water rescues and over 10,000 preventative actions since initial agency certification.
In 2012 Super Storm Sandy destroyed Sea Bright’s lifeguard headquarters and all of it’s lifesaving equipment.
2014 the Borough Council in an effort to rebuild the beach department, increase beach revenue and improve beach safety hired “Coach” Don Klein to manage beach operations. Don then hired former San Diego County beach lifeguard and current Rehoboth Beach Patrol Lifeguard-Paramedic Mike Hudson as the new lifeguard training officer tasked to reorganize the lifeguard service's training program and insure all personnel were prepared and equipped to protect beach visitors under USLA standards.
The 2015 summer season saw the town council direct the Beach Department to open up Anchorage Beach as a protected beach under the town’s lifeguard program. Mike Hudson was promoted to Lifeguard Captain. Ty Conley a former Sandy Hook guard was brought in as the new 1st Lieutenant of the town's ocean lifeguards.
Under brand new leadership the town’s ocean lifeguard service made up of it's incumbent senior lifeguards and brand new rookies began operations re- designated as Sea Bright Ocean Rescue. Operations on Sea Bright Public Beach, Anchorage Beach and strategic reactive response to unguarded areas demanded new communications and a dedicated Gator style ATV.
(then) Sea Bright Fire Chief and FF-Rescue Swimmer Chad Murphy was able to secure the very first radio designation for Sea Bright's ocean rescue operations supervisor; now designated as 43-198. SBOR was now the only ocean lifeguard service with a NJ public safety department designation assigned to the Monmouth County communications region. The new radio handle allowed for local agency inter-operability during critical calls. More importantly lifeguards would now be dispatched for the very first time for water rescue calls via the county's radio repeated channel..
Sea Bright developed a USLA compliant open water lifesaving academy and began a scenario based approach to training it’s new rookies and requalifying it’s recurrent guards. SBOR built it’s lifesaving operations using guidelines and techniques “borrowed” from various professional ocean lifeguard programs across America. SBOR began working very closely with Sea Bright Fire Rescue to develop a cross-staffed water rescue team and a response plan to go with it.
In August 2015 the new ocean rescue team assisted in a Code-X operation on Sandy Hook to locate a missing and presumed drowned swimmer. One week later another Code-X operation occurring in unguarded water would label Sea Bright's lifeguards as one of the best teams on the beach. That day Lt Conley, Lt Stuart Kiley, ORS Ryan Dunigan, ORS Riley Flannigan and the on-duty SBOR staff coordinated search efforts with the Boro Police Department and Sea Bright Fire Rescue. The body was found and recovered from the impact zone by the SBOR lifeguard team. After a 20 minute submersion the victim was successfully resuscitated on the beach with the help of the FAS and Paramedics. The victim later died in the hospital, however the efficacy of our months of training, including a dozen Code-X scenarios, was now verified.
During it’s inaugural year the men and women of SBOR made 109 water rescues and over 1,200 preventative actions. The lifeguards found 21 lost children and responded to 32 major medical aids.
In 2016 in an attempt to standardize training and communications Sea Bright Ocean Rescue along with the North Shore (NJ) Lifesaving Association held a regional lifeguard academy following USLA training standards. Lifeguards from Sea Bright's seven beach clubs attended this 61 hour open water lifesaving and ocean lifeguard course. Chris Leicht a former Rehoboth Beach Patrol senior lifeguard was brought on board to coordinate the regional academy and all training for SBOR's rookie personnel.
This season saw the organization of a reactive water rescue team staffed by seasoned veteran ocean lifeguards Sea Bright's Surf Rescue Team was assigned a county designation of Surf Rescue 43-88 specifically for county radio dispatches to certain 9-1-1 water rescue and medical aid "jobs."
Response to outlying water rescues and medical calls by the Surf Rescue Team was now a recognized part of SBOR's mission profile. During normal duty hours SRT was in prime position for a beach response however after hours responses relied on volunteer lifeguards working closely with Sea Bright Fire Rescue assigned to their department as rescue swimmers. For the first time ever Sea Bright's lifeguards were requested for multiple after hours "jobs" providing mutual aid to neighboring boros and to the national gateway park, Sandy Hook.
Expanding our modern lifeguard capabilities the borough purchased a Sea Doo Wave Runner (RWC) RXP260 to be used for patrol of unguarded shore line and rapid response to surf rescue in areas that are inaccessible by ATV's due to federal bird conservation activities. The new RWC required specialized training of personnel and the purchase of additional equipment for it's rescue duties. SRT personnel aboard 43-88 Ski-1 have made several rescues and prevented numerous incidents from becoming rescues.
In a cooperative agreement between the Boros of Sea Bright and the Highlands, the contract to provide safety and lifeguard services to the river beaches in Highlands was signed in May 2017. The new river safety program, with operations developed by SBOR, brought a new set of responsibilities for Sea Bright’s guards including the inevitable response into open swift water. After a skills intensive river rescue training course which was coordinated by Mike Mather of Mather Rescue, lifeguards began duty assigned to one of two public beaches along the Shrewsbury River. Members of the Surf Rescue Team began alternate duties as the lead river lifeguard, call sign 240-River. River Safety had a total of 74 preventative actions in the water, 3 water rescues and no drownings.
The end of summer 2017 brought record setting warm water and with it several hurricane generated ground swells coupled with hot weather and sunshine. High surf and rip currents for days in a row plagued the Monmouth county beaches. At one point there were several fatal drownings on neighboring beaches proximal to Sea Bright and well over 150 rescues in one day. For the first time in Sea Bright’s recent history the borough council and the police chief ordered the Surf Rescue Team to provided reactive patrol, water rescue, and lifeguard services to the public beaches well after the end of lifeguard season. Over 75 preventive actions were effected, and the team responded to more than a dozen 911 medical aids. Once again, no drownings fatal or non-fatal.
In 2018 Sea Bright Ocean Rescue continued to improve the level of service it provides to the public. The first improvement was the initiation of training for Southern California inspired main tower operations which will be the new standard in 2019. Stationed from an elevated position in the new municipal beach building, the new Tower Zero post can coordinate all lifeguard activities on our main public beaches. Senior lifeguards will stand two 1.5 hour main tower "watches" per day. The main tower guard’s responsibilities include supervision of lifeguard stands on the north and south side of the jetty and at Anchorage Beach as well coordinating reactive response to the seven beach cabana clubs and 911 water rescue response to all 3.2 miles of unguarded beach. Tower-Zero is the focal point of all lifeguard communications on and off the guarded beach.
2019 will continue to see lifeguards operating the local FD ambulance as the "2nd out bus" as we continue to improve the level of medical response on the beach when the town gets busy. We will be sending multiple ocean lifeguards through CEVO certification courses so there will always be an available licensed and certified ambulance driver/operator. In addition we will be offering EMT training scholarships for two lifeguards a year.