Official water temps, taken lovingly by hand by Readings From The Northisde (Artisan Water Temps) is 58 degrees. Maybe it feels warmer, maybe it feels colder, but that’s what it actually is. Incidentally, the Beach Patrol is notorious for distributing incorrect water temps. I have no idea where they get their readings.
There is little chance of this situation improving until the South Wind dies, which is not forecast for another week. This cold water is upwelled from the deep by the relentless wind pattern. For anyone unlucky enough to have booked that special week on LBI during this period, I’m sorry. There is no vacation insurance covering pre-existing conditions.
But you can salvage some of the good times by springing for a proper spring suit. If you know what a “spring suit” is, then you can skip this.
Wet suit technology has come a long way thanks to the magic of Neoprene. A decent short sleeve, short bottom suit (called a shorty or spring suit) can easily handle these conditions. Suits are rated by thickness, in millimeters, from 1-5 mm. A 2mm minimum is needed for this water. 5 is overkill and will make you or your kid bake on the short walk from the beach to the sea. They cost in the range of $50 to $150. Faria’s in Ship Bottom is a great place to get hooked up.
For adults, this is a no brainer. For the kids, folks often hesitate because the are “still growing”. It is important that a wetsuit fit well, so don’t try the trick of buying a massive one they can “grow into”. The logic is flawed because you are basically still buying them a temporary suit, just for a year into the future when it may not be cold.
I don’t care how cheap you are: if you’re renting during this icy cold summer, a good shorty is a wise investment. If you’ve never done the wet suit thing, now’s the time to start. Go to Faria’s or your favorite surf shop and simply say: “I’m looking for a set of 2mm shorties for my family so we can swim. What do you recommend?” It will change your life.
Last tip: for the kids, you may want to call ahead, or Google/Amazon in advance. Kids sizes can be tough to come by at local shops.