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Join Penguin Swim New Year’s Day

If you are in Ocean City this week, you may notice a couple of changes as you drive down Coastal Highway. The speed limit, normally 40 mph through North Ocean City, has been reduced to 30 mph, and Downtown, the speed limit has also been reduced. This is due to the expected, unauthorized H2Oi Pop-Up Rally.  It is reasonable to expect heavier than usual traffic, noise and strict enforcement of vehicle laws during the week and weekend.

The 26th annual Penguin Swim in Ocean City, Maryland

The 26th annual Penguin Swim will take place on New Year’s Day, when hundreds of people will “plunge” into the ocean off 91st Street to benefit Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin. The goal is to raise $80,799 for the Atlantic General Hospital Foundation. AGHpenguinswim.org keeps track of funds raised, and so far the tally is up to $20,930. Check the site any time for updates.

“It is a great family event that pulls the community together and raises awareness for the hospital,” AGH Event Coordinator, Joy Stokes said. “The Penguin Swim is not your typical Ocean City event, and everyone comes out to celebrate the new year with the ones they love.”

Princess Royale Oceanfront Hotel

Princess Royale Oceanfront Hotel will be the epicenter for a day full of festivities. If bragging rights for jumping into a 40-something-degree ocean, notwithstanding the air temperature, are not enough to make you want to get out of bed; participants also will have the opportunity to take part in all the happenings within the hotel’s Atrium and its main stage:

  • Eric Cantine will be creating an ice sculpture. Get pics!
  • Mermaids will be in the pool. Snap a photo, before they swim away!
  • Free face painting with Lollipop the Clown.
  • 50¢ carnival games with a guaranteed prize every time
  • 2 selfie stations – one for Big Penguins and one for little Penguins
  • Apparel Sales – last year’s apparel at discount rates
  • Maryland Beanie Hats for sale

Number of Penguins?

Using numbers from prior years as an indication for this year’s participation, Stokes says they could expect over 600 participants, “We had 653 penguins[swimmers] last year. It was a very nice weather day. The temperature was 64°.” If the weather is not so nice numbers may drop. “In 2018, the temperature was 23°, and we had 420 penguins, but you don’t need to take swim to fundraise and participate. Not all our penguins swim and some only stick a toe in.”

How to participate?

Sign up on-line (Online registration will end at 7:00 AM on January 1, 2020.)

Pre-register New Year’s Eve at Princess Royale Oceanfront Hotel (2:00-4:00 pm – Pre-Registration and Advance Check-in
Avoid long lines at the event! Wristbands, Prizes, and Shirts can be picked up early!)

Register New Year’s Day at Princess Royale Oceanfront Hotel (10:00 am – Registration and Check-in BEGINS
12:30 pm – Registration and Check-in ENDS)

Donate to a Penguin’s fund (pick a penguin you want to help)

Donate to a Team or Join a Team (pick a team you want to help or join)

Donate – if you just want to give to AGHF

What you get for your money raised?

Participants who raise:

  • $25 – t- shirt
  • $50-$99  choice of water bottle, glass mug, or backpack
  • $100-$249 choice of long sleeve t-shirt or crewneck sweatshirt
  • $250-$499 choice of cooler bag, towel, or hooded sweatshirt

Cyber Swim

If you are out of town, but jumping in some water on New Year’s Day is still thrilling, jump in any water nearby and take a photo and share it with the Penguin Swim’s online community on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #OCPenguinSwim. *Make sure your post is public so we can see it! You will still be eligible for incentive prizes based on your individual level of fundraising. You must still register and fundraise as an individual penguin or as part of a team. 


The top three earning teams from each category, which includes individuals and adults, businesses, community groups and under 18, will be awarded trophies and prizes. There will be a best costume contest and special recognition will be given to the oldest and youngest penguins.

Event organizers encourage participants of the costume contest to go to the mainstage and let them know if they are an individual or a group costume participant. To participate in the costume contest individuals and groups must be photographed.(Groups need to photographed together.) 

Safety First

Ocean City Beach Patrol will be on hand to make sure everyone is safe and not in the water too long.

Last Year’s Plunge was Great!

Overall the Penguin Swim brought in a total of $73,198.76! Bull On The Beach is the Emperor Penguin Sponsor, and over the years has raised over a half a million dollars since the first Penguin Swim. Last Year Bull on the Beach Team raised over $30,000 with events like their golf tournament and crab fest. They are such proud and welcomed sponsor, they bring a giant blow-up penguin to the Penguin parade that truly sets the mood as a family-fun event.

Don’t miss this occasion even if you just come to watch, it is a fantastic way to bring in the New Year!


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