On the morning of Sunday May 26, 2013, the Point Pleasant First Aid and Rescue Squad diver’s Michael Bond, Bob Schmidinger, Milton Rodriguez, Joseph Sinkus, David Gibson, and Chief Diver Chet Nesley met at the squad building with no real plans to dive. However, knowing that a west wind had been blowing hard for the prior day and a half, everyone was curious to see what the water conditions were like. Was the waters visibility atrocious? Perhaps the biggest question in mind was whether the ocean was flat and clear to continue our beach surveys as requested by Point Pleasant Beach, Bayhead and Mantoloking? At 0800 we made our traditional ride down to the foot of Broadway to gage the beach conditions and then to the Manasquan Inlet to check on the water clarity. The water was “lake surface” like and was definitely conducive to shore entry by divers because of the lack of waves. Better yet, it was determined that Rescue 34, our zodiac and jet ski would be great assets in the underwater survey by pulling the divers along behind.
We went back to the building and got our gear and vessels ready for our mission. Our plan was to launch the vessels at the end of Bay Ave, Point Pleasant Beach and have the vessels go through the Point Pleasant canal and Manasquan inlet to meet us just off the beach at Trenton Ave, in Point Pleasant Beach. Dive Unit 347 carried our equipment and divers to the beach, while our first responder vehicle towed and launched our rescue boat and when finished was utilized on the beach to move gear and divers. To make our plan work we had to make a few phone calls. After all, this was very spur of the moment decision but we could not pass up very good diving conditions. We contacted the squad captain, Sabrina Fioretti who had access to the squad’s first responder vehicle 346, which has four wheel drive and EMT Jerry Meaney who also has a beach capable truck.
As planned Rescue 34 and the jet ski, towed two divers behind underwater. Both divers held onto a line one hundred feet behind the vessels. Every time a diver found a large piece of debris that posed a danger to swimmers, they came up and signaled to the beach surface support on shore. They in turn marked the area in which the debris was found by positioning the vehicle on the beach directly in perpendicular with the divers. By doing this the divers had a point of reference if the object was dropped before recovered. Surveying was done in water depths of as little as three feet and as deep at twelve feet. In the 2.1 mile of Point Pleasant Beach and Bayhead beaches surveyed we found scraps of metal, a sign post, a bed frame and small chunks of masonry blocks which is not a lot for the area we covered. The area was surprisingly clear of debris.
The safety of our beaches is an ongoing concern and we will be continuing when the conditions both sea state and the visibility underwater allow and manpower is available. As of today, we can say there is no large debris from Manasquan Inlet to Mount Street in Bayhead. Everything is being done to make the beaches as safe as possible by the Townships, Dive Team, the Point Pleasant First Aid and Emergency Squad, the lifeguards, and all the beach owners. No one can guarantee that anything is totally safe. Everyone is doing the best they can.