This summer in Belmar there's one thing that's been just as hot as the sun -- beach badge sales.
Overall badge sales this year are up nearly 22 percent from last season, according to Borough Administrator Bill Young.
As of Wednesday, Belmar has pulled in nearly $2 million in seasonal, daily and senior beach badge sales, Councilman Brian Magovern said. Sales are roughly $150,000 ahead of last season's pace, he added.
Magovern said the borough, through Wednesday, had sold 14,500 season badges, 5100 senior badges and 167,378 daily badges. That equates to $1,965,459 in total beach badge sales.
"Mother Nature has helped all of New Jersey beaches, but Belmar has gone above and beyond to create an inviting family-friendly atmosphere," Mayor Matt Doherty said in a release.
Doherty credits the sharp rise in sales with the borough's attention to details, such as improvements to the bathrooms and beach accessibility with Mobi-Mats, boardwalk refurbishments, excellent water quality, and activities at four free beach playgrounds — the most of any other beach on the Jersey Shore.
And while the heat wave may have kept some people inside their air-conditioned homes, it did not negatively affect badge sales, the release said.
For the week of the Independence Day holiday between July 2 and July 8 — when temperatures did not dip below the mid-80s and reached highs within the 100s — Belmar managed to sell almost 41,000 daily badges and almost 900 seasonal beach badges, the release said.
Belmar Beachfront Director Kevin O’Donnell commented, “The entire summer has been busy so far due to the weather this early in the season. People have been flocking to Belmar beach to escape the unusually warm temperatures. I noticed especially this year that the week of July 4 was busy consistently with some people taking off before the mid-week holiday and some the days after the holiday,” Kevin O'Donnel, beachfront director, said in the release.
Beach badges are needed for patrons over the age of 16 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Daily Badges are $7, while seasonal badges are $50 for regular and $15 for senior citizens aged 62 and older.
To date: 14,500 season badges (14,037 at the same time last year), for $717,250 ($694,000 last year); 5100 senior badges (4832 last year), for $76,500 ($72,480); 167,387 daily badges for $1,171,709 (155,352 for $1,087,464 last year). Ahead of last year's pace by roughly $150,000.