Many lifeguards from seven beach patrols will get a chance to race tonight at the 48th annual Chief Bill Kuhn Brigantine Beach Patrol Lifeguard Invitational at 16th Street beach in Brigantine. The event begins at 6:15 p.m.

The former bay event changed its format and location in 2009. The Kuhn Brigantine Invitational has five short relay races and emphasizes participation, with at least four lifeguards from each team in every race. Twelve lifeguards from each patrol are eligible.

The five Atlantic County patrols of Brigantine, Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate and Longport will compete, plus the guest patrols of Island Beach State Park and Lavallette.

The paddle relay begins the evening, followed by the surfboat relay, with three crews rowing for each team. The swim relay is the third event, followed by the ironman medley, which is a race with a swimmer, paddleboarder and doubles crew. The final race, the rescue relay, starts with three guards from each patrol at the halfway flag. In succession, a swimmer, a paddleboarder and a doubles crew each "rescues" one guard.

"It's more like real rescue," said Mike Morrell, the Brigantine Beach Patrol assistant chief. "The northern patrols (in Ocean and Monmouth counties) started it all. The rescue races are popular. This is our first year of inviting the northern beaches, and they're excited to come here. They've always been doing these races. It's more spectator-friendly than racing on the bay."

Atlantic City won four of the five races last year and took the team title with 24 points. A.C. also won in 2009, the first year of the new format, while Brigantine won in 2010.

A.C. has the Rau brothers - Justin, Tyler and Carson - plus Josh Spivey, Mike Flanagan, Mike Santangelo, Pete Egnor, Joe Welsh, Jeff Terrell, Jim Smith, Joe Spivey and Ayana Cox.

Brigantine, second last year, is led by Rob Canavan, Vince Sera, Sven Peltonen, Kip Emig, Kyle Fitzgerald, Michael Demarest and Michael Brooks. Longport leaders are Tim Schwegman, Bob Ballance, Max Mittelman, Tom Kresz, Vic Giannini, Katie Adams and Sean Duffey. Ventnor will feature Shawn Slattery, Mike McMenamin, Kieran Advena, Jake Mason, Rick Guerrieri, Joe Callahan and Mitch Friedel.

The event honors the late Bill Kuhn, the Brigantine Beach Patrol captain from 1937-47 and its honorary chief from 1951-73.

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Today's event

What: Chief Bill Kuhn Brigantine Beach Patrol Lifeguard Invitational

When:6:15 p.m. today

Where: 16th Street beach in Brigantine