The unofficial summer season has come to an end with vacationers back at home and kids back at school. But September is actually a great time for locals to squeeze in a bit more summer.

Lifeguards will be on duty every Friday through Sunday during September at Island Beach State Park in Ocean County from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Swimming Area 1 beaches.

State Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Caryn Shinske has warned that even though the beach may be open during the week, there is no swimming allowed then. Swimming is only permitted on weekends in September when lifeguards are present.

Rip currents are the leading cause of ocean drownings across the nation. So Shinske says beach visitors are encouraged to read and heed signs at beaches warning the dangers of these currents.

In addition to offering extended swimming opportunities this month, the Friends of Island Beach State Park are hosting two events. One is the 22nd annual Beach Plum Festival on Sunday, Sept. 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Swimming Area 1. It's a rain or shine event with a suggested $8 donation. The festival features crafters, children's games, beach plum jelly and ice cream.

The Barrier Island Surf Classic Adult Surf Competition on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a no-wave day on Sunday, Sept. 22. The event will be at the surfing beach south of Swimming Area 2, with competition in the long board division and short board division open to adult surfers.

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