In 2001, the Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol Lifeguard In Training Program was launched. That first year, local lifeguards trained 20 kids in water safety and first aid skills. Nearly 20 years down the track and every summer more than 100 kids go through the program.
The Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol covers a two-mile stretch of sand on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. They employ an upwards of 60 seasonal guards that both keep the water safe, and in the case of the Lifeguard In Training program, also pave the way for the next generation.
“Our program stresses overall physical fitness, water safety skills, teamwork, sportsmanship, positive self-esteem and good listening skills,” explains the program’s description. “In an educational yet fun environment, the L.I.T.’s learn how to successfully use much of the same equipment that the professional lifeguards use for training and rescues. The L.I.T.’s are trained and supervised by professional lifeguards; many of them have been Harvey Cedars Lifeguards for many years.”
Amazingly, the lifeguard tradition on Long Beach Island goes back well over 100 years. The first rescue equipment was put in place in 1848.
“Some things have changed over the years, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is the heart and soul of this beach patrol,” Randy Townsend, HCBP’s captain of the past 11 years, recently told the local newspaper.
"We’ve always been the happy-go-lucky group which loves working for this town, serving the public of this small but great community," he continued. "When I look at our lifeguards, I see men and women who really want to be here. They’re not just here to have a cool summer job and collect a check. They do this job because they love it and they love the town of Harvey Cedars.”
As part of the 2019 Stoke-O-Rama in nearby Manasquan Inlet, PVW’s Dane, Pat and Tanner Gudauskas teamed up with Randy and his crew to help keep the vibe alive on LBI. Proceeds from the Stoke-O-Rama were donated to the Lifeguard In Training program to help ensure that the tradition continues.
“It’s just so epic to see how a lifeguard training can not only keep the beaches and ocean safer but the positive effect it has on the whole community,” Tanner explained. “This is exactly the kind of thing that the Positive Vibe Warriors was created for. It’s an honor to be able to help them with their mission.”
This October there will be Stoke-O-Rama events in San Clemente, California, and Makaha, Hawaii. Proceeds from those events will go towards supporting local water safety and education programs. Hopefully, we’ll see ya on the sand!