New Captain On The Beach In Seaside Park
Jim Rankin has spent about half his 43 years as a lifeguard in Seaside Park. The Toms River resident began his summers on the beach in 1999 when he was 21 and ten years later became a Sergeant and since 2013 has been a Lieutenant where he can frequently be seen riding an ATV from one beach to the next. However things will be a bit different this summer for the Jackson Liberty High School math teacher as last month he was appointed Captain by the Borough Council replacing Mike Veracierta who for personal reasons will not return after nearly 9 years supervising the 1 ½ mile ocean beach.
The timing worked out well for Rankin, who was the first and only head baseball coach in Liberty baseball history before stepping down following the 2021 season after 15 years. This spring he’s had more time to spend shuffling his three sons to their various practices…he and his wife Megan who is also a teacher have Chase (12), Kellen (10) and Cameron (6) who are all quite active. The nice thing is they love the beach and can be seen on North Avenue in Seaside Park on many summer days.
Rankin is excited about his new position and while it presents challenges well-trained to handle the daily responsibility of safeguarding swimmers, many of whom have little experience when it comes to the ocean. A majority of the 90 or so lifeguards and officers will be returning this summer and he’s confident in their abilities to continue with the philosophy of being proactive, not reactive. Their job is to use their knowledge to keep swimmers safe, even if that means on rough days limiting what they can and can’t do.
Of course Rankin knows that under normal circumstances his biggest challenge would be to make sure I’m happy as like his family I’m a North Avenue regular. However I’ll miss a good portion of the summer once I have spinal surgery next month so Jim probably feels that pressure is off. Well my wife Jane has high expectations as well which he’ll want to meet.
I have no doubt he will. Good luck Captain Rankin!