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Lifeguards Spread A Serious Message As Shore Towns Prepare For The 4th Of July

BELMAR, NJ(CBSNewYork) — Major replenishment projects at the Jersey shore have most towns ready for the Fourth of July, and have made Sandy feel like a distant memory.

However, as CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported, swimmers have been warned to stay close to shore and parents are being told to ditch some safety devices.

In Ocean City, the Coast Guard has been searching for a teenager who went swimming when lifeguards were not on duty. They believe that he may have been caught in a rip tide.

Incidents like that one have parents keeping a close watch on their kids.

“They listen. They’re good and the waves are so rough they don’t want to go past, you know what I mean, they get knocked over,” Lisa Vincigurro said.

Lifeguards can easily spot a dangerous current.

“If it’s a strong rip it will keep going. See, it’s almost getting out there now,” Belmar Lifeguard Training Officer, Tim O’Donnell said.

If a swimmer does get caught in a rip tide they should wait for it to weaken and then swim parallel to the shore, O’Donnell said.

“Relax, don’t panic, signal if there’s guards on duty. You need help,” he said.

Lifeguards have also told parents not to rely on life-vests or floaties.

Kristie Moreno said that she is aware of the guidance, but that her kids like to wear the devices.

“At camp my children aren’t allowed to wear them. Right on them it says ‘this is not a life saving device’ and ‘do not leave your child unattended’ but they are attended at all times,” she said.

Lifeguards say the floaties give kids a false sense of security.

“They think he’s got his swimmies on and he gets caught in a rip and there he goes,” O’Donnell said.

There are no laws against having children wear life vests or floaties in the ocean in New Jersey, but lifeguards say that the best way to make sure kids stay safe is to keep them close to you.

Belmar has increased the number of lifeguards for the holiday. Guards will be on duty until 5 p.m.

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