Ken Cassie, former lifeguard, still keeping swimmers safe

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BRIELLE — After 26 years of lifeguarding in Belmar and rescuing over 1,000 people from the ocean, it’s safe to say that Ken Cassie, who now resides in Brielle, knows his fair share about the surf and how to keep safe while swimming. When asked if he would consider himself a Ph.D in the subject of water safety, Mr. Cassie said, “I believe so, I’ve just pretty much seen it all in my time.” However, it wasn’t until after an incident in the Cayman Islands in 1990 that Mr. Cassie decided to apply his knowledge toward educating others on the issue of water safety, and how to “enjoy the surf safely.” Mr. Cassie was exploring a remote island alongside his wife, Rochelle, when Mrs. Cassie spotted a swimmer in distress. The man was caught in a rip current. According to Mr. Cassie, the man was in a panic so he charged in to help, but the man wasn’t convinced of his safety. When Mr. Cassie brought the man to shore, he was not harmed, but still rattled from the incident. It was then the former lifeguard realized that with so many swimmers choosing to swim without the protection of lifeguard supervision, there should be a way to educate the average bather on how to keep themselves safe in the water. Lifeguard Ken Tells All With more than a little push from his friend, Jack Hoban, of Sea Girt, the blueprint for a book dedicated to safe swimming was in the works. According to Mr. Cassie, “Jack might as well have written the thing, he pushed for the title, he told me to tell the stories, ‘no bullet points’ he told me, and he illustrated the cover too.” With all this put together, “Lifeguard Ken Tells All: Enjoy the Surf. Safely.” was on its way. Mr. Cassie admits that he thought the title was “a bit cheesy,” but that he loves the way things turned out. Throughout the book, Cassie uses both interesting anecdotes and personal experiences to explain, situations that people may find themselves in while bathing in “the Great Deceiver,” the ocean. Mr. Cassie refers to the ocean as “the Great Deceiver” because of its “inviting and beautiful nature, which pulls people in” even though it can be very dangerous.

For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.

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