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Wednesday, July 17, 2024


Cape May Distributing Brochure to Prevent Beach Injuries


By Jack Fichter

CAPE MAY — The city will distribute at least 50,000 copies of a new beach safety brochure designed to prevent head, neck and back injuries, incidents with swimmers caught in rip currents and jelly fish stings.
City Manager Bruce MacLeod displayed copies of the city’s colorful, new beach safety brochure created by Chad DeSatnick, a former lifeguard that sustained an spinal injury and the city’s Beach Patrol and Fire Department at an April 21 City Council meeting.
DeSatnick has been approaching City Council for nine years to get a program created to warn the public of head, neck and spine (C-Spine) injuries. He visited schools to teach students how to avoid C-Spine injuries.
“The majority of the people getting injured are not from Cape May, so I thought it was real important for them to come up with some type of brochure so that the people that are actually going to the beaches, when they buy their beach tags or when they check into their hotel, rental property or bed and breakfast, get a chance to read over the brochure,” said DeSatnick.
He said the brochure would be more effective than just a sign at beach entrances that warned of dangerous shorebreaks.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘What’s a dangerous shorebreak?’” said DeSatnick.
Last summer was the first year “dangerous shorebreak” signs were used on beach entrances all season.
“Last summer there was the most back and neck injuries the city has ever seen,” said DeSatnick.
In 2008, there were 22 C-Spine 9-1-1 calls and 32 calls in 2009. DeSatnick said there has been a steady increase of back and neck injuries on the beaches.
MacLeod said the brochure was designed to be distributed by the accommodation’s industry and businesses to visitors as they arrive in Cape May. He said the brochures would also be available from beach taggers and the lifeguard station.
Mayor Edward J. Mahaney Jr. said Lt. Harry Back of the Cape May Beach Patrol designed the brochure. He said the city had funding to print 150,000 brochures.
At issue, beaches with sharp drop offs may be causing neck and spine injuries for body surfers and surfers here as a result of sand replenishment by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Corps have been replenishing the city’s beaches since October 1999. Those who body surf are affected the most by running into a wall of sand at the shoreline.

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