Lifeguard honored for 50 years on the job

TOBAY BEACH, Long Island -- A lifeguarding legend has been on the job at Tobay Beach in New York for five decades!

On Friday, the Town of Oyster Bay honored him for his years on the job.

Not many of us can say that every day at work is a good day.

But for 68-year-old John McGovern it's been that way at Tobay Beach for half a century. That's how long he's been on the job as a lifeguard.

"A good day is nobody gets hurt, everybody is safe, all the lost children are found quickly," said Capt. McGovern, Tobay Beach Lifeguard.

McGovern started his career as a teacher in Massapequa.

"John was my gym teacher in Junior High School," said Joseph Saladino, Oyster Bay Town Supervisor.

He slowly worked his way up the ladder at the beach to senior lieutenant by 1975, then assistant captain, and he's been captain there since 2013.

He's also had two hip replacements, but still surfs every day during the off-season in Costa Rica.

Now in case you're wondering, it's not like McGovern is running into the water making saves left and right these days. He does leave that to the younger lifeguards. Not that he couldn't do it. He passes his certification every time.

"200 yard swim in the pool, timed, then you do a cross-chest carry in the water, you dive for a weight," McGovern said. "You have to go through a 400-yard ocean swim, and you also have to do a surfboard rescue."

He is quite an example for his team of proteges, not to mention his assistant captain, Billy Arnold. Arnold has worked with McGovern for 45 of the past 50 years.

"Let's go for a swim! I'll show you what I can do! I can do it, I still sit, I still make rescues, I could do it," Arnold said.

Their experience, it shows in the camaraderie, but most importantly the safety.

There is a perfect record at Tobay Beach for McGovern's elite team. David Hasselhoff eat your heart out!

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