After the deaths of two lifeguards last year, the New Jersey Department of Labor launched an investigation into the Jersey Shore Beach Patrol and found 73 violations in four counties.
The August 2021 deaths of lifeguards Norman Inferrera III, 16, and Keith Pinto, 19, sparked an investigation, the state Labor Department said in a statement. Inferella died after the surf boat he was on at Reading Avenue Beach in Cape He May capsized. Pinto was killed by lightning while stationed at the Lookout on White Sands Beach in Berkeley Township.
The beaches have since been renamed in memory of the deceased lifeguards and are now known as Inferella Memorial Beach at White Sands and Keith Pinto Memorial Beach.
The department initially investigated safety issues at two beaches, then launched a large-scale investigation “to spread knowledge and awareness of these hazards to prevent future tragedies.”
“Norman and Keith are valuable young members of their community, their squad, and this state who gave their lives to protect their fellow New Jerseyans and guests who visit our coastline.” The beach safety initiative is a large and significant undertaking and as a result, our Jersey Shore destinations are conscious and well-equipped to address boat and lightning safety concerns.”
The ministry’s Office of Occupational Safety and Health for Civil Servants led the investigation, which focused on beach patrols that employ civil servants. PEOSH conducted inspections in July and August, and in Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties he conducted 58 inspections, the ministry said.
Investigators issued 73 violations, 44 of which were in Ocean County (38 of which involved recordkeeping), 16 in Monmouth County, 8 in Cape May County, and 5 in Atlantic County. A spokeswoman for the agency said. In addition to record keeping, violations related to boat hazards, boat certification, and lightning policies.
The department also issued 32 “hazard awareness letters” and 26 compliance orders related to boating or lightning safety. The Department of Labor did not identify the beach patrols that were violated, or the specific violations that beach patrols were subjected to.
Patrols that have been breached will not face penalties “provided the local government takes appropriate steps to mitigate the identified problems,” the agency said. Additionally, the department will soon release safety warnings on boat and lightning safety.