Lifeguards Say Water Is The Safest Place; Umbrellas The Order Of The Day

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many people made for area beaches on Thursday to get relief from the heat.

As far as pregnant Dina Moran was concerned, sitting on beach chairs in the water on the Jersey Shore was the only way to live, CBS 2’S Christine Sloan reported from Long Branch.

“The water does help and being in the water in general gets the pressure off, keeps me cool and I am very comfortable,” said Moran, who lives in Hopatcong.

“It just feels amazing. It is nice and cool and beautiful and the sun is out,” Vicki Vitelli added.

EXTRAS: Forecast & Alerts | Staying Safe In The Heat | Find A Cooling Center | Find A Pool Near You | NYC Beach Guide | PHOTOS: Heat Wave Hits New York

Swimmer had been complaining recently about the water being too cold. It’s because of a natural occurrence called “upwelling,” a wind-driven motion of cooler water toward the ocean surface.

But on Thursday the same people were changing their tune. One life guard, who was prepared for 90-plus degree temperatures, said he’s been watching it closely.

The lifeguards said the safest place to be is in the water. They said they have seen several cases of heat exhaustion and the majority of victims were people laying out on the beach.

“They are young females. They are dieting. They want to look good in their bathing suit and haven’t been out in the sun and have not had water. People don’t realize how much water they need to be hydrated,” head lifeguard Rick Stimpson said.

Stimpson said the sand is so hot he’s treated people with blisters on the bottom of feet, including his own daughter. Beach goers said it’s unbearable to walk on.

It’s why we found so many people taking cover under umbrellas in Long Branch, where business owners are loving the heat wave, especially ice cream shops.

“It is brutally hot, but I am getting the most for my New Jersey tax dollars,” Joe Pancila said.

Over at Jones Beach on Long Island, umbrellas were the name of the game on Thursday.

By noon there were no more to rent, the distinctive orange, green and brown dotting miles of white sand.

The iconic umbrellas burst on the scene in the roaring 1920s when the park first opened. Then, bathers plunked down 50 cents. Now they are a $10 concession and remain the life labor of Chris Ann Peters.

“I love being part of the history of Jones Beach. I never thought it would be such a fantastic job when I started to work here 22 years ago,” Peters said.

Inside a canvas warehouse on the park’s northern fringes Peters plies her trade. She is the sole person in charge of repairing or replacing 1,000 umbrellas a year that have been broken down by salt and sun

She disassembles using wrenches, hammers, mallets and pliers, and rebuilds by cutting g fabric, measuring, ironing and sewing on cast iron machines that have been around since the jazz age.

Peters said about a dozen umbrellas disappear each season, even though their 8-foot stems don’t collapse and must be smuggled out whole.

Their popularity has been captured through the decades with little changed and traditions maintained.

“Robert Moses was very interested in those details. Historic touches add to visitors’ experience,” Jones Beach State Park Director Sue Guliani said.

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