BELMAR— Howard Rowland, who oversaw the borough’s beachfront for five decades, will once again be honored as the borough rededicates its beachfront public safety pavilion in his memory on Friday.

Mr. Rowland led the borough’s lifeguards from 1932 until his retirement in 1986 [he died two years later in 1988] and trained generations of Jersey Shore lifeguards. His legacy is so far-reaching that three lifeguards he trained are still members of the squad.

“He was a legend on our beach and we wanted to continue his legacy as long as we can,” Harry Harsin, chief lifeguard of the Belmar Beach Patrol and a former student of Mr. Rowland, said on Tuesday.


The dedication ceremony will take place at the pavilion, located on the boardwalk near 10th and Ocean avenues, on May 28 at 5 p.m.

During the ceremony, a portrait of Mr. Rowland by local artist Suzanne Anan, will be unveiled.

“I appreciate the mayor and council for dedicating the building,” he added. “The former building dedicated in his honor was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy and it’s important to continue his legacy.”

According to Mr. Harsin, his mentor saved the lives of thousands of people over the course of five decades, and taught a plethora of others water safety.

According to his former students, Mr. Rowland helped rescue passengers of the S.S. Morro Castle disaster when the ship caught fire off the shore of Asbury Park in 1934. Mr. Rowland was a paid firefighter for the city at the time.

He would also give swimming lessons to local children on the L Street beach.

“He just taught you how to be attentive to the water and become a proficient waterman, to be able to make an ocean rescue,” Mr. Harsin said. “He instilled the confidence in you to be able to rescue people. He was a great teacher.”

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