Despite warnings to stay out of the water at Island Beach State Park due to rip currents, at least three rescues have been necessary at the state park today, a DEP spokesman said.
Larry Hajna, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said lifeguards doing maintenance work had to come to the aid of two swimmers in the first incident, which happened around 10:30 a.m. While police reports said there were five women involved, Hajna said it was just two swimmers, and they were fairly close together.
He had no information on ages or genders of the swimmers involved, however.
"We don't take detailed information," he said. "Our only interest is in making sure they're safe."
In the second incident, he said, one or two other people were able to make it to shore before lifeguards arrived, while in the third incident, one person needed to be rescued.
"All safe and sound," Hajna said.
New Jersey State Park Police and lifeguards were continuing to patrol the beach and force people out of the water, as hundreds of people flocked to the park to enjoy the beautiful day.
"We have been telling people at the entrance that swimming is prohibited, but many are ignoring that warning," Hajna said.
And despite signs posted at both the entrance to the parking area at Bathing Beach 1 and on the boardwalk that leads over the dunes, dozens of people were frolicking in water that had become shallow as low tide approached.
People need to understand there are serious dangers with the rip currents, Hajna said.
"Our personnel are very busy right now trying to make sure people are safe," he said.
Reports said the Seaside Park water rescue team, the Seaside Heights Fire Department and Toms River EMS also responded on the first rescue.