Photo: NYC Parks

More than 100 Rockaway lifeguards from up and down the beach came out to compete in 7 different competitions 

On Monday, July 31, Rockaway Beach hosted the 2023 Lifeguard Games, which brought over 100 lifeguards, their families, and the community out for a friendly competition of strength, teamwork, skill, and lifesaving prowess. Kicking off at Beach 106 in Rockaway, events included a 2-man rescue drill adjacent to the shore; a reel rescue, utilizing a harness stationed on the beach’s edge; a 500-meter paddle on a board and a 500-meter swim, both races; and two classics – a beach flag sprint to test speed and endurance, and a tug-o-war measure of strength.  

“Our lifeguards are the unsung heroes of summer, keeping a watchful eye on swimmers and helping to keep New Yorkers safe,” said NYC Parks First Deputy Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa. “I could not be more proud of all of the teams that participated in these games and was beyond pleased to help facilitate this historic meet for our lifeguards.”  

“I’m really happy that our younger generation – our newest lifeguards – were able to experience this event, one that really highlights our teamwork and camaraderie,” said NYC Parks Rockaway Lifeguard, and Lifeguard Games Organizer, Justin Hausler. “I’m honored that I was able to contribute to this year’s successful event, and we’ll be back next year looking to make it bigger and better.”    

Six Rockaway lifeguard teams competed in the Games, including crews from Beach 17 & 32 (combined crew), Beach 59, Beach 73, Beach 86, Beach 106, and Beach 117. When the final results were tallied, the Beach 73 team came in first to win the Commissioner’s Cup, with Beach 59 and Beach 117 placing second and third, respectively. Individual awards for first, second, and third place were also distributed. 

The first NYC Parks Lifeguard games were held in 1938 at Rockaway Beach, and featured teams from Orchard Beach, Jacob Riis Park, Coney Island, South Beach and Rockaway. The inaugural competition was won by lifeguards from the east end of Rockaway Beach, with Coney Island the runner up. 

Interested in being a lifeguard with NYC Parks next summer? Sign up today to be notified of test dates posted this coming winter.