CAPE MAY - Several beaches along the New Jersey coast are suffering from a lifeguard shortage as summertime crowds head oceanside.
"I've been coming here for 14 years every year and as soon as we got here we were like 'where are all the lifeguards at?'" Tom Chiaravalloti said.
Cape May Beach Patrol Captain Geoff Rife says there are several factors that have lead to the shortage of guards patrolling the beach, ranging from daily pay to cost of living.
"Housing costs are so high down here that a lifeguard can't afford to live there," Rife said. "You can't shack up with the rest of the guards."
With too few patrols on hand, some beaches have been force to cordon off sections of sand.
For some, having lifeguards is not a luxury, it's a necessity to maintain safety and peace of mind while enjoying a day at the beach.
"I think it's one thing that I'd like my tax dollars to go to," Michelle Rose said. "I can take a flat tire, but I don't want my kids drowning in the ocean."
In a plea to get more help along the coast, Rife tried his best to sell the summer job.
"It's a great job and the rewards are being in shape, saving someone's life and truly making a difference," said Rife.
Almost every beach town is currently holding open tryouts for lifeguards. Applicants will need to pass a running and swimming test to be considered for the position.