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Ocean City

Beach safety

The beach can be a very safe place if you take the time to understand sand and water safety. Many misconceptions about beach safety exist and contribute to one of the biggest factors behind people getting into trouble: fear. If you understand the ocean-and-beach basics, like how currents work and how to take proper precaution before jumping in, it’s easy to safely enjoy the beach. When you don’t have a proper understanding of beach safety and water safety, fear and panic can take over and jeopardize your safety. Following basic safety rules on land and in the water makes the beach a safer place for everyone. 

Beach Patrol

Tasked with keeping our beaches and ocean safe, the Ocean City Beach Patrol is one of the most integral entities in Ocean City. 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 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. Read more… 

Sand safety

Yes, sand safety is a thing! To most people, fear of the beach revolves around the ocean–being swept away by a current, attacked by a shark or pulled underwater by the Creature from the Black Lagoon. But being reckless in the sand can also result in some very dangerous and very real situations. 

In July 2017, a beach goer fell into a deep hole that someone had previously dug in the sand and died from asphyxiation after the sand caved in and suffocated her. Do not dig deep holes on the beach. Drowning in the sand is tragic, but not unheard of–in the last 10 years, at least 31 people have died from similarly concave holes dug on the beach. Here are some of Ocean City’s hole-digging rules to take note of: 

  • You can dig holes on the beach, but they can only take up a small area. They can be no deeper than the knees of the smallest person in your group.
  • Tunneling is not allowed.
  • Do not leave your hole unattended, and fill it back in before leaving the beach. 

Also, if you plan on taking a stroll on the beach at night, don’t go alone. Even if you’re exceptionally careful, it’s best to have a partner who can call for help in case something happens. 

Ocean safety

Regarding ocean safety, your foremost thought might be, what are my chances of getting attacked by a shark?  Read more…

A more common danger that ocean swimmers face, however, is the threat of strong currents in the water. The most common-known but misunderstood current is the rip current, which flows away from the shore and can sweep away unsuspecting swimmers with it. It’s important to be aware of currents like these before you venture out too deep in the ocean so you can avoid them or, in a worst-case scenario, make it out of one alive and unscathed. Read more…

Here are a few more tips from the American Red Cross to help you and your family stay safe in the water.

  • Swim in areas that are supervised by lifeguards. The Ocean City Beach Patrol is on duty every day in the summer from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 
  • Swim with a buddy. The more populated a section of the ocean is, the better. 
  • Know how to swim–at the very least, practice treading water and doggy paddling  before taking to the ocean. 
  • Never leave a child unattended near the water. 
  • Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water.
  • Avoid alcohol use before swimming.

Ocean City safety rules

Here are Ocean City’s beach rules that specifically pertain to staying safe in the sand and surf. Other regulations regarding city ordinances and surfing are listed online, in addition to more helpful tips about staying protected from rip currents. 

  • Only swim when lifeguards are on duty. (Again, that’s 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.)
  • Always check with a lifeguard regarding beach and ocean conditions.
  • Never dive into unknown water or shallow breaking waves.
  • Do not ride waves that are breaking in shallow water or on the beach.
  • Do not swim near fishing piers, rock jetties or wooden pilings.
  • Rely on your swimming ability rather than a flotation device (being equipped with both is a plus). 
  • Remember: Keep your feet in the sand until the lifeguard’s in the stand!
Kristin is a writer and photographer in Ocean City, Maryland, and is the content manager for OceanCity.com and other State Ventures, LLC sites. She loves getting reader-submitted stories and photos, so send her an email anytime. She also works part-time at the Art League of Ocean City and the Ocean City Film Festival and lives just off the peninsula with her dog and fiancé. Her photos can be found on Instagram @oc_kristin.

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