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After 33 Years, Ocean City’s Senior Lifeguard Hangs Up His Whistle

By John Ostapkovich

OCEAN CITY, N.J. (CBS) — The end of the unofficial summer season on Labor Day brought an end to a 33-year lifeguarding career in Ocean City, NJ.

Since 1979, Robert Speca has had sunblock on his nose and a whistle between his lips, guarding his stretch of beach and the thousands of people who used it.

He says he tried the job at the urging of fraternity brothers and got addicted to it.

Summer after summer, as he worked a variety of  jobs during the other months, he’d be back at the beach for the summer.

(Currently he’s a science teacher at Marple-Newtown High School.)

“I’d teach right to June 15th, then immediately lifeguard all summer,” he tells KYW Newsradio, “and then go right back to school — like today.  So I’d never have any time to do anything in the summer.”

Like any lifeguard, he’s dealt with long hours with nothing to do punctuated by moments of pounding into the surf on a rescue.

So, a question for the undeniable expert: what can beachgoers do to make a lifeguard’s job easier?

“Quit climbing on the rocks — because the jetties are a lot slipperier and sharper and harder than you think,” he says.

Speca, by the way, is also a domino-toppling wizard who has been featured on several TV talk and news shows.  (See his web site,

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