(July 11, 2014) The Ocean City Beach Patrol knows what it’s talking about when it issues advisories regarding dangerous currents, considering that even the resort’s best can find itself in need of assistance when the tide is really rolling.
That is, after all, what happened last Friday, July 4, when Coast Guard crews on a pair of 47-footers rescued a surfer and three members of the Beach Patrol who had been carried by a strong current into the inlet.
The Coast Guard received the call for assistance at 3:04 p.m. and recovered the four swimmers just eight minutes later about 30 yards east of the south jetty’s tip, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Wood.
No one was hurt during the incident, he said.
“Most of the time around the inlet, they’re going to need our help because of the way the current runs in there. It’s a pretty standard procedure for us,” Wood said.
That procedure is well practiced and training had just taken place the day before, Beach Patrol Lt. Mike Stone said.
“It’s funny. We have a training every year with them (the Coast Guard) and all of our rookies had just done that on Thursday,” he said.
Beach Patrol swimmers entered the water around 3 p.m. when a surfer seeking swells from Hurricane Arthur offshore was swept over to the mouth of the inlet.
“We always send extra guards out (to the inlet) because they’re in the boat lane. If one person’s holding on to the victim, you have another person holding the buoy up,” Stone said.
“The tide was going out. When the tide’s going out, it’s going pretty good,” he said.
“We had two 47-foot motor lifeboats that were already offshore doing some regular training and while we were on the way back in the inlet, we received communication that there were some Beach Patrol lifeguards in the water who needed our help,” Wood said. “As we were coming into the inlet, we spotted them and pretty much pulled up right alongside the three Beach Patrol lifeguards.”
The Coast Guard ultimately delivered the swimmer and guards to Coast Guard Station Ocean City on South Philadelphia Avenue.
The sea was rougher than normal Friday with 4- to 6-foot waves and occasional swells up to 8 feet, Stone said, bringing surfers out in force.
“There were quiet a lot of people out surfing on Friday,” he said. “It was pretty rough … Normally on a day like that, we would try to keep the swimmers in closer.”
The surfer’s family waited onshore “a little concerned,” Stone said, “but we let them know everything was OK.”
The names of the surfer and Beach Patrol members were not released.