No lifeguard on duty: beach patrol officials urge caution at the Jersey Shore

NORTH WILDWOOD, N.J. (WPVI) -- It was a "bonus" beach day for people at the Jersey shore on Wednesday. Many took the day off to enjoy the summer-like temperatures.

"We can't believe it. It's beautiful. Like an August day," said Ed Zimmer of North Wildwood, enjoying a day on the beach.

With a high risk for rip currents along the New Jersey coast, local beach patrol officials are warning people to be careful. Most beaches are now unguarded this late in the season.

While surf conditions are rough, most life guards are back in school for the year. And the temperatures aren't normally this nice on October 2.

"This is unbelievable. This is like summertime here," said North Wildwood Beach Patrol Chief Tony Cavalier.

He says off-season coverage is always a challenge. He recommends bathers only go in knee deep. Cavalier even tested the conditions himself.

"I was in waist deep and there are so many waves breaking, they just keep breaking and when the water rushes out, there's a tremendous undercurrent," he said.

Some folks out waist deep, playing in the waves on Wednesday afternoon.

Most beachgoers to are playing it safe.

It was pulling me in and it was pulling me that way," said Edward Murray, age 9, of Newtown, Pa.

"We're staying out of the water. It's really rough. My kids are basically going in to their knees," said his mom, Heather Murray.

Through September Cavalier says the North Wildwood lifeguards who are still in town will often be on standby at beach patrol headquarters in case of an emergency. He says with such warm fall temperatures he's going to try to have more lifeguards on duty in the off season next year.

If there are any emergencies for now, the fire department would likely respond with a water rescue team.
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