• Lisa Fagan

North Wildwood Fire Department- Personal Watercraft Training

Updated: Jul 23

Since 2006 the police and fire departments of North Wildwood (NWW) and Wildwood (WW) have collectively trained in open water rescue under the guidelines of the New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau. Wildwood Beach Patrol Captain Schneider, Chief Stocks and Instructor Auty are instructors for NJSP. The training pictured here was with the NWW Fire Department and NWW Beach Patrol Lifeguard Baker. All parties coordinate annually to make sure first responders are safe in the Personal Watercraft Training (PWT).

This training took place in the NWW Hereford Inlet which is a strictly no swimming area as it is one of the most dangerous areas of water on the New Jersey coastline. The water has deep channel water that has the ability to flow at greater than five miles an hour at the change of tides. Though it is quite beautiful, it is dangerous with no lifeguards on duty [not safe enough?] However, people choose to ignore the posted warnings and enter the water. Unfortunately, many people decide not to heed the no swimming signs and enter the water. When they get into trouble, NWW Beach Patrol and NWW Fire Department have to risk their lives to respond; therefore, training is important for the safety of the firefighters in performing a safe rescue.

Every summer, both NWW and WW Fire Departments along with their Beach Patrol’s conduct interdepartmental training. State Police Sergeant Baker supervises from the shoreline while Trooper Brian Reyes patrols by police boat to ensure State Police standards. This type of training is the best training that they can go through because it is real-time practical training with real risk.

“Communities along the Jersey coast that have a need for open water rescue due to public behaviors will seek out this training,” according to Ed Schneider, Captain of the Wildwood Beach Patrol who participates in training at the request the New Jersey State Police in communities from Seaside Heights to Cape May. He continued, “The need for after-hours rescue - and spring and fall rescue due to no lifeguards - has grown over last 20 years because when guards are off duty, the Fire Department is first on the scene. Before this training, there was a lower successful rescue rate and a higher risk to our police and fire department personnel.

NEVER, EVER SWIM WITHOUT A LIFEGUARD PRESENT!

If you see anyone in trouble, call 911.


Scroll pictures below.

Photo/Video 6/24/20: L. Fagan

Ed Schneider contributed to this blog.

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