New Jersey

Thousands Take Polar Bear Plunge Despite Bitter Cold

Thousands of people coped with the coldest temperatures of the year during the annual “Polar Bear Plunge” in Sea Isle City, New Jersey Saturday.

The 22nd Annual Polar Bear Plunge took place at 2 p.m. at the 40th Street Beach. 

With air temperatures in the low 20s, ocean temperatures in the 30s and wind chills barely above zero, the annual event was brutally cold, even by Polar Bear Plunge standards.

“This is the coldest one in the last ten years that I can remember,” said Mike Bates, of Mount Laurel, New Jersey. “Unbelievably cold! The wind is unbelievable!”

The frigid temperatures didn’t stop thousands from taking the plunge however, much to the delight of nearby businesses who were dealing with damage caused by the Winter Storm in January.

“This is a big deal,” said Joe Larosa of Mike’s Seafood Restaurant. “It’s like a summer weekend in the middle of the winter.”

Authorities took extra precautions during this year’s event, bringing in additional rescue crews from five different Cape May County ambulance squads. The lifeguards also wore cold suits. Despite the cold, those who participated in the event, which raises money for autism research, were happy that they did.

“Getting in the water ain’t that bad,” said Tim Dougherty of Mickelton, New Jersey. “Getting out and getting home, that’s the tough part.”

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