The Ocean City Beach Patrol goes on duty Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend
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Tasked with keeping our beaches and ocean safe, the Ocean City Beach Patrol is one of the most integral entities in Ocean City, MD. The Beach Patrol is comprised of young men and women who vigorously train under the tutelage of veteran leaders to ensure swimmers and beach goers stay safe at all times. The lifeguards learn about treacherous rip currents, the changing ocean bottom, and how far to let flotation devices go out with different winds and tide conditions. They also have to keep an eye out for swimmers who get too close to the long wooden and, more recently, stone jetties that jut out into the surf to help check beach erosion. It is estimated that in a typical season, the Patrol goes to the rescue of about 2,500 bathers, handles 1,000 lost children, and is called on for first aid about 500 times.
Before any man or women can join the Beach Patrol, he/she must first pass a grueling tryout. To be under initial consideration, applicants must swim a quarter of a mile in the ocean from the jetty at the Inlet to the fishing pier, keeping their strokes through waves and currents, and must be back on shore in ten minutes or less. As soon as swimmers hit the beach, they must then run in the sand back to the starting point. Applicants who survive the initial test (most do not) continue from there with a series of simulated rescues with and without a torpedo buoy, run a 300meter course in soft sand in 65 seconds. Next, there is a test in lifesaving techniques. Candidates must demonstrate the ability to break the grasp of desperate swimmers using several techniques. Patrol members are taught the semaphore flag signals and first aid, and receive CPR training.
Those that pass join the Beach Patrol and accept the mission of keeping the beaches safe. The OCBP is broken up into 17 individual crews, each of which operates as a team to man the 5 or 6 lifeguard stands on its assigned beach, with the crew chief stand located in the center. An assistant crew chief and up to six additional SRTs (Surf Rescue Technicians) work together under direction of the crew chief to cover all stands 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. All guards follow the same training program, so members of any crew can work together to save lives; but Ocean City’s coastal geography creates unique working environments at each beach and each crew takes great pride in keeping its area safe.
For more information on the men and women who keep our beaches and water safe, visit: http://oceancitymd.gov/oc/departments/emergency-services/beach-patrol/