A new tradition has been set in Long Beach Island after lifeguards from all six beach patrols ran the American flag along the shoreline during the July 4 holiday.
Ryan Williams, a Long Beach Township Beach Patrol lifeguard officer and paramedic, says the flag was carried by ocean lifeguards along the entire distance of the barrier island, beginning in Holgate and ending in Barnegat Light.
Long Beach Island, an approximately 18-mile long narrow stretch of sand, contains six municipalities. In addition to the Long Beach Township Beach Patrol, the others include Barnegat Light, Harvey Cedars, Surf City, Ship Bottom, and Beach Haven.
“LBI is a patriotic island, and we’re a patriotic beach patrol,” Williams said.
The lifeguard officer says his patrol has an “extensive, proud history” of lifeguards that serve in the military or emergency services.
“Some of our lifeguards literally do it all, so when the idea for this symbolic event came around, our people were all in,” he said.
Long Beach Island’s lifeguard squads have a storied history of teamwork and competition. They have competed annually against each other in an island-wide lifeguard tournament since the early 1960s.