Lifeguard Profile > Quick-changing currents make the inlet a tough spot to guard

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Mark Gose Mark Gose

Mark Gose practically grew up on North Wildwood’s beach.

With his father serving as a part-time medic for the North Wildwood Beach Patrol, Gose started coming to the beach at age 4 and was constantly around the lifeguards.

“That’s what made being on the beach very natural to me,” he said.

He participated in the patrol’s junior lifeguard program, got to know nearly all of the senior lifeguards on the beach and even learned many of the ins and outs of being a lifeguard.

So it’s not surprising that Gose became a lifeguard himself once he got to the proper age.

“I used to come to work with my dad when he’d come in on the weekends,” Gose said. “When I was 4 or 5 years old I started coming down regularly. I definitely realized back then that I wanted to be a lifeguard.”

Now 21 years old, Gose is in his sixth summer as a lifeguard for the patrol. The 2009 Wildwood Catholic High School graduate is a political science major with a minor in secondary education at Neumann University outside of Philadelphia. He has hopes of eventually becoming a high school history teacher.

Gose has one of the most important and pressure-filled jobs on the patrol. He sits on Stand 1 near Hereford Inlet, where some of the most intense rescues of the summer often occur. The location features quick-changing currents due to the tides. In addition, he is also close to Champagne Island, a small sandy unguarded area on the north side of the inlet. While many people get to the island by boat, some will walk there at extremely low tide. Problems occasionally occur when the tide changes.

“If it’s low tide, a lot of people find it pretty easy to get out there, but then when the tides start switching they can’t get back across,” Gose said. “People can walk out there at low tide. The water’s only about waist or stomach high. But then there’s a lot of rips down there. It can be one huge rip after another.

“The tide is always a factor down there. People always think they can swim, but when a rip goes through that fast they realize they can’t.”

Gose and the other lifeguards in the area have access to a wave rider that is stationed there. North Wildwood Beach Patrol Capt. Bill Ciavarelli estimates that Gose and the other lifeguards in the area have used the rider about a half-dozen times for rescues already this summer.

Gose said he has become more comfortable guarding the inlet area as time has passed.

“At first it was a lot harder because I wasn’t used to sitting down there,” he said. “But I’ve learned to focus on my area first, then look out to see what else is going on. We have a pretty good system down there, too. If I see something going on (near Champagne Island), usually I can tell my lieutenant to take a look first and then I can worry about my own water again. Everything flows pretty good down there. We all work together.”

Ciavarelli said Gose has turned into one of the patrol’s most reliable lifeguards.

“It’s a huge responsibility to guard at that beach, and he’s really stepped up and done a really good job,” Ciavarelli said. “We lost two senior lifeguards over the last year or two down there, and he’s stepped in and done a really good job. It’s a different section down there, different from all the other stands. We have to be careful who we put down there. Mark’s become a pretty strong asset down there.”

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