N.J. officials release 2023 ‘State of the Shore’ report

The report finds that most beaches in the state are in fairly good condition, according to environmental experts — but a warning has been issued for swimmers.

The beach, ocean and skyline are in Avalon, New Jersey

The beach, ocean and skyline are in Avalon, New Jersey, on Monday, July 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend — the unofficial start to summer — beaches along the Jersey shore are overall in good condition, environmental experts said.

At a press conference along the Asbury Park boardwalk Thursday, officials released New Jersey’s “State of the Shore” report, which found that water quality is normal and that most beaches only suffered temporary erosion.

“We had a relatively mild winter in terms of storms and the state and local communities have done a great job of maintaining their beaches,” Dr. Jon Miller, author of the report, said.

It comes despite reports that beaches in some towns, like Upper Township, are in rough shape. 

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As a precaution for swimmers, officials said people should be aware of rip currents, which are strong, fast-moving currents of water that flow away from the shores. Rip currents can be extremely powerful and can pull swimmers away from the beach, making it hard to swim back to shore safely.

Miller said the risks associated with rip currents are more deadly and likely than other beach hazards like shark attacks.

“Swimmers, if they’re gonna go swimming, should always swim near a lifeguard, swim with a buddy,” Miller said. “If you get stuck in the rip current, swim parallel to shore and then come back.”

Gov. Phil Murphy also visited Asbury Park Thursday to support a key initiative in his budget proposal that would invest $100 million to rehabilitate and upgrade boardwalks across the state.

“The Boardwalk Fund will help us ensure that these wooden main streets, which are the backbones of their communities, remain a place for families to continue making memories at the Jersey shore for generations to come,” Murphy said.

If included in this year’s budget, due at the end of June, funds from the American Rescue Plan will go to shore towns facing “financial distress,” according to the governor’s office. Towns would need to apply.

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