By Grace Galbreath
For our next lifeguard of the week, DJ Comerford, lifeguarding means spending time with family. Hailing from Wyndmoor, PA, DJ has been lifeguarding with the Stone Harbor Beach Patrol for the past four summers.
DJ has been summering at the Jersey Shore since he was a child. Before his family purchased their Stone Harbor home in 2012, DJ stayed at his grandparents’ house. His first summer with the beach patrol was in 2020, and he has been life guarding ever since. DJ said, “I’ve always wanted to be a lifeguard because I grew up coming down here. Summer 2020 was my first summer being down here for the full summer. I knew some people on the patrol, so I talked to them. They recommended it, and so I got started.”
A recent graduate from Villanova University, DJ majored in communications with a specialization in advertising. At Villanova, he was a member of the swim and water polo club teams. Post grad, DJ continues to swim recreationally and competitively. An annual Stone Harbor triathlon participant, he took first place in the race’s 2023 swim portion earning him the title of “King of the Swim”.
Considering DJ’s swimming background, it’s a given that he enjoys competing in the South Jersey Beach Patrol competitions. He has participated in several competitions, including the David J. Kerr Jr. Memorial Lifeguard Race and the Dutch Hoffman Memorial Lifeguard Race. He said, “My favorite memory is Cape May County’s Lifeguard Races this year, because it was the first time I was actually able to compete in a race, in the surf dash. Ever since then I have done all of the races.”
DJ is grateful to be able to work with his siblings, Kevin and Grace. The time spent on the stand has brought them closer together. He said, “I like working with Kev and Grace, I grew up with them. Sitting with them on the stand I’m always pretty comfortable, just cause I know them so well. We drive to work together every day, and it’s always hectic in the house. I definitely got a lot closer with them these past couple summers, just by being coworkers.” DJ also recalled one of his fonder memories with the beach patrol: getting to share the stand with his siblings. After a request to guard the same street was granted, they were given the opportunity.
During his time with the patrol, DJ has created lifelong friendships with the other guards. He said, “My favorite part about the job would definitely be the camaraderie of the patrol and how we all get so close to each other. It doesn’t even really feel like we’re coworkers. I feel like we are all kind of like a group of friends.”
Make sure you say hello to DJ this summer at his usual spot — the lifeguard stand at 103rd street in Stone Harbor! If he is not on the stand, you can find him grabbing a post-work meal at one of his favorite eateries on Seven Mile Island, Seven Mile Pies.