The Ocean City Beach Patrol hosted its first Women’s Lifeguard Conference on Aug. 17 at 58th Street Beach. More than 50 women representing beach patrols from throughout South Jersey attended the inaugural event, which was created to advocate for women in leadership roles and encourage camaraderie among women on all patrols.
The conference included opportunities for participants to work out, to share ideas on providing a safe and inclusive environment for all beach patrol members, and to hear speakers touch on their experiences, rising through the ranks, and how their work as lifeguards helped them to become leaders in other aspects of their lives.
Speakers included Superior Court Judge Nancy Ridgway, who was the first woman ever hired by the Margate Beach Patrol; Sara Werner, who was the first woman ever promoted to lieutenant on the Cape May Beach Patrol; Ventnor City Beach Patrol Lieutenant Meghan Holland, Cape May Point Beach Patrol Race Director Kristen Moorby; and Samantha Vanderslice and Holly Lesser, who were the first women promoted by the Ocean City Beach Patrol as resource and training officer (RTO) lieutenants. The RTO positions were created this year to have individuals in leadership roles to cultivate positive relationships with all guards through training and having someone in place to check in on guards’ well-being.