ROCKAWAY BEACH — Additional officers will patrol local beaches before the official start of the season Saturday following the drowning of an 18-year-old on Wednesday, officials said.
The Parks Department is sending 48 Parks Enforcement Patrol officers to beaches in the five borough, including 10 who have been pulled from Manhattan patrols, following the death of Rupra Gurung, who drowned off of Rockaway Beach.
The additional patrols come after Mayor Bill de Blasio warned swimmers against entering the Atlantic Ocean while lifeguards are not on duty.
“We have for years and years tried to warn young people, and even more importantly their parents, that swimming where there are not lifeguards is very dangerous and they should not swim, the beach is not open," he said Thursday at an unrelated press conference.
"Obviously, I’m the father of a teenager myself and it’s a horrible tragedy for this family," he said. "But we need everyone in the city to get the message across that no matter how hot it is, it’s just not safe to go on the beach if there’s no lifeguard."
Gurung was at the beach with two friends and went for a swim by the jetty at Beach 67th Street before he was swept under Wednesday afternoon, friends and officials said.
Lifeguards are not on duty until Saturday, the official opening date for city beaches.
The extra PEP officers began their tours on Thursday, and will continue to patrol city beaches until 8 p.m. each day, according to officials.
Starting Saturday, the beaches will remain open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. through Labor Day.