TRENTON – Island Beach State Park, one of the most visited destinations in New Jersey’s state park system, will provide lifeguard protection for beachgoers on extended weekends, from Friday to Monday, throughout September, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
The post-Labor Day lifeguarded beach, at the park’s Ocean Bathing Area 1, is a first for Island Beach State Park and is being put into place to offer a safer swimming experience for visitors who want to enjoy the full benefits of the beach after the peak summer season.
“The weather and the water are still warm and our attendance remains high in September,” said Richard Boornazian, DEP Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources. “By having our skilled lifeguard team at Island Beach State Park for long weekends throughout the month, visitors can more safely enjoy the water and experience an extended summer on our beautiful beaches.”
After Labor Day, the beach at Ocean Bathing Area 1 will have lifeguard service on Sept. 5-8, Sept. 12-15, Sept. 19-22 and Sept. 26-29 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Restrooms and showers at the bathing pavilion will be operating on those dates, as well. Also after Labor Day, entry cost to the park is reduced to $5 per car for New Jersey residents and $10 per car for out-of-state residents.
As is the case throughout the summer, swimming in unguarded beaches at any location at Island Beach State Park is strictly prohibited.
Gourmet food truck companies will be on hand during certain lifeguarded days throughout September. Food truck operators interested in providing their services during the month are encouraged to call Island Beach State Park at (732) 793-0506.
“We’ve had an amazing summer at Island Beach State Park,” park manager Ray Bukowski said. “Our September operations will keep swimmers safe in the water, particularly at a time of year when rip currents can be strong, and extend our tourist season. We look forward to visitors extending their summer season with us.”
In November 2011, Governor Chris Christie announced the state’s Sustainable Parks Plan designed to keep all 39 of New Jersey’s state parks open, to provide affordable recreation to state residents. Components of the plan include enhancing and expanding park programs, facilities and amenities to generate more visitors and revenues that can make the parks more financially self-sustaining. The extended beach season at Island Beach is an example of that effort.
Shaped by storms and tides, Island Beach State Park is a narrow barrier island stretching for 10 miles between the ocean and Barnegat Bay. It is one of New Jersey's last significant remnants of a barrier island ecosystem and is one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier beaches on the north Atlantic coast.
For more on Island Beach State Park, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/island.html