Rough seas kicked up by Hurricane Lee, which remains well offshore despite causing deadly rip currents and heavy surf at the Jersey Shore, kept beaches closed to swimming up and down the coast Friday.
The day began with a tragedy, as one of three men attempting to break the inlet to fish at about 8 p.m. the night before was lost when the 31-foot vessel captured. At dusk Friday, a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter was continuing a massive grid search for the man, a Brick Township resident whose name is being voluntarily withheld by Shorebeat due to privacy considerations. Another one of the victims pulled from the inlet remained in the hospital, a source said, and the status of the third boater who was rescued was not known.
Onlookers were seen at street ends up and down Ocean County’s northern barrier island Friday, though police officers on ATVs saturated the oceanfront on patrol, keeping anyone from entering the water. There were no reports of anyone entering the ocean Friday as of the publication of this article. Authorities in Toms River and Seaside Heights said emergency orders were put in place subject anyone who violated the ‘no swimming’ order to arrest.
The National Weather Service has continued rip current and high surf advisories through Saturday. According to the latest NWS advisory, wave heights in the surf Saturday will run 5-8 feet with a “high” probability of rip currents, which could be seen in both aerial photographs and from beach entrances Friday.
The water temperature remains in the upper 60s and winds Saturday are forecast to come from the northwest at 10-15 m.p.h.
A “high” rip current advisory indicates “life-threatening rip currents are likely in the surf zone.”
On Sunday, the NWS forecast calls for a “moderate” rip current risk with waves in the surf zone running 2-4 feet in Ocean County. A “moderate” rip current risk indicates “life-threatening rip currents are possible in the surf zone.”
High tide on the ocean, based in Seaside Heights, occurs at 8:53 a.m. and 8:55 p.m.