2019 Pre-Season Beach Badge Sales Soar on LBI, Weekly Sales Trend Down

By Gina G. Scala | Sep 18, 2019
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Long Beach Island — Sun-filled days, including a long string of picture-perfect weekends for the first time in more than a few years, translated into an uptick in the overall beach badge sales for most of Long Beach Island. Weekly badge sales, though, in nearly all six municipalities were on the decline.

Ship Bottom. Council President Edward English said beach badge sales as of Aug. 27, the date of the last council meeting of summer, hovered near $927,870, more than $218,000 higher than 2018. There were still five days of beach badge sales ahead for the borough, but those figures were not available as of press deadline.

“Our numbers are good,” Kathleen Flanagan, chief financial officer for Ship Bottom, said earlier this month. “Later hours and credit cards definitely played a part in it, but I believe our badge checkers are what made the most difference. They were outstanding this year. They worked hard and genuinely enjoyed the job, and it showed.”

In April, the Ship Bottom Borough Council broke with at least a half-century of tradition when it agreed to keep ocean and bay beaches guarded until 6 p.m. daily through the summer season. Ship Bottom beaches are among the busiest on Long Beach Island because of their proximity to the Causeway, the only entry/exit point on the Island. Other beach patrols also have mobile units after hours, but Ship Bottom is the first to keep all of its beaches, including the bay beach, guarded until 6 p.m.

Surf City. Beach badge sales were up 809 over the same period in 2018, according to Councilman Peter Hartney’s monthly report Sept. 11. Three beach badge checkers each sold at least 1,000 daily beach badges and one of the checkers broke the sales record by selling roughly 1,550 daily beach badges, he said.

With a total of 14,276, daily beach badge sales were up a total of 749 for the 2019 summer season, according to data from Surf City’s finance department. That’s by far the biggest jump in beach badge sales, although both holiday badges and pre-season badges were also up.

Holiday beach badges accounted for 150 more in 2019, for a total of 650 sold, while pre-season badges were up by 220 for a total of 13,807 sold this summer, according to the data. The borough saw a decrease in seasonal beach badge sales by 284 and weekly badge sales by 26.

Beach Haven. The total revenue generated by beach badge sales for the 2019 summer is $463,505, an increase of $6,795. Seasonal badge sales increased by 196 over 2018, for a total of 11,080 sold. Daily badges jumped by 1,938 for the season, totaling 14,846 for 2019. Weekly badges decreased by 281, dropping the total weekly sales down to 2,209.

Harvey Cedars. Beach badge revenue increased by $11,286 for the summer season, bringing in $237,885. The increase is accounted for by 50 more seasonal badges in 2019, totaling 6,331; 775 additional daily badges sold, bringing that number to 3,409; and 53 more senior badges for a total of 728 in 2019. Weekly beach badge sales declined by 16.

Barnegat Light. Beach badge revenue declined by $8,800 in Barnegat Light for the 2019 summer season, and beach badge prices remained the same. The total number of badges sold for the 2019 summer was 9,760, 715 fewer than in 2018. The total figure includes pre-season badges sold in the calendar year 2018.

Dottie Reynolds, borough council chair of the beaches and parks committee, said at the Sept. 11 borough council meeting that a shortage of beach badge checkers seems to be a culprit.

“We had a lot of beautiful beach days,” so bad weather wasn’t a total cause, she said. “But we do not have a lot of beach badge checkers. We’re looking into how to improve that for next year and get more beach badge checkers.”

Beach badge checkers sold 66 daily badges, 19 weekly, 19 seasonal and 12 senior badges, according to data from the borough. In comparison, badges sold at the sales booth were 159 seasonal, 104 senior, 53 weekly and 88 dailies.

“We pay them (badge checkers) $1 each for every badge sold on the beach” in addition to their salary and a flexible choice of schedule, Reynolds said after the meeting. The salary is minimum wage, $8.85 per hour, records show.

“We’re at the end of the Island; perhaps some don’t want to fight the traffic to get here,” as opposed to working in another town, she added.

Senior citizen badge sale numbers stayed almost the same in 2019 as compared to 2018. So did holiday badges. But 286 fewer weekly badges were sold in 2019 than the previous year. Also, 374 fewer daily badges and 64 fewer seasonal badges were sold.

Many people buy their badges pre-season; 735 badges were sold between Jan. 1 and the time that prices rose in mid-June, which could account for the dip in overall sales. Another possible factor is that some of the beach areas were cordoned off by the state/federal protection of nesting piping plovers. That plan was also in place last summer.

Long Beach Township. There are 12 miles of non-contiguous oceanfront beaches, or two-thirds of the entirety of the barrier island, in the township. Officials said beach badge sales were mostly on par with the 2018 summer season, but there was a slight decrease.

For the 2019 summer season, pre-season beach badges totaled 39,962 while seasonal badges, purchased after June 15, came in at 3,544 and the tally for holiday seasonal badges was 2,994. Daily beach badges totaled 18,731 for the summer while senior badges totaled 6,697.

The township saw a total of 6,029 weekly beach badges sold for the summer.

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