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Debate over preserving or retiring iconic surfboats

Beachgoers in Ocean City, N.J., use satellites in outer space to find the closest parking lot. They pay to park with a card that takes money directly from their checking accounts. And, from their beach chairs, they use smart phones to make their office-bound friends envious of their sun-filled vacations at the shore.

So one retired lifeguard wants to know: Why is the city relying on 17th century boats to keep visitors safe on the beach?

The city at one time had 44 boats. The storm last year destroyed seven of the 33 boats in the beach patrol’s fleet.

“I think they’re useless,” one retired lifeguard told the Press of Atlantic City. “Ask guards how many times you use the boat to rescue someone in the water, it’s nil.”

Click here for the full report.

But not all agree with that line of thinking. Ann Richardson write in an opinion column in Shore News that the surf boats are worth saving.

“Lifeboats are still relevant as modern rescue tools, but the traditional, handcrafted white fiberglass vessels have priceless added value in terms of historical significance and marketing capability,” she argues.

Click here for the full column.