Female lifeguards at Jones Beach proud to be part of a legacy
The female lifeguards at Jones Beach State Park say they're proud of their legacy 50 years after the first woman got a job there.
The first female lifeguard who qualified to work at Jones Beach arrived in 1968. Before that, lifeguarding was considered a man's job.
Tammy McLoughlin is the current second-in-command at Jones Beach. She says she started lifeguarding in her 20s. Now she's 51 and has four children. And she's part of an elite group of women who pass the rigorous Ocean Life Guard Test each year before serving at the Jones Beach Central Mall Lifeguard Stand.
"For the women that paved the way for us, they had to endure things that made our jobs nowadays a lot easier," McLoughlin says. "So I have a tremendous amount of respect for those women."
Carol Lynch, 61, began lifeguarding at Jones Beach with her daughter in 2002. Her two sons are also lifeguards. She says she's thankful for the daring women of the 1960s who came before her.
"We are very thankful to those women stepping up and taking the test and saying, 'We can do this. We can do a man's job,'" she says.
The Central Mall is among the world's busiest beaches. Both men and women work there, but they say they don't consider gender — just whether or not lifeguards are part of the team.