The Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum’s annual summer educational programs will begin Monday, July 1 and this year will feature a program on Sundays. Program topics will include reptiles, beach safety, resort history, knot tying, sharks, U.S. Life-Saving Service and local marine life.
“We’ve been doing this for over 20 years and we offer the programs to let everyone know we’re here,” said museum Curator Sandra Hurley.
The approximately 30-minute programs will take place every day at 10 a.m. through Aug. 24. Most of them will be held in front of the tram station near the museum at the southern end of the Boardwalk.
“We used to have them outside the museum but with the bikes in the morning it got a little crazy,” said Hurley. “There are a lot of families and they walk up with their coffee and donuts in hand. It’s early but it’s a nice time.”
The Sunday sessions “Diary of a Reptile,” are the newest addition and will feature a presentation from the Delmarva Discovery Center. Center representatives will explain the lives of reptiles and answer questions including, “How do snakes sleep?” and “How do turtles swim?”
“[The center] offered to do the show because they wanted Ocean City visitors to know they exist,” said Hurley. “It’s really a win-win for both of us.”
Members of the Ocean City Beach Patrol will visit on Mondays. Lt. Edward Kovacs said they use several props to explain the proper safety precautions for playing on the beach and in the water. He said they bring the signs from the back of lifeguard chairs to explain rip currents and water safety.
Kovacs said they will also teach flag semaphore, the hand-signal language used by the lifeguards. Sunscreen samples will be given out and Kovacs said children also enjoy taking pictures on the ATVs that are displayed.
“The most important things to remember are the hours the lifeguards are on duty and to not go in the water when they aren’t on duty,” said Kovac. “Our saying is to ‘keep your feet in the sand until the lifeguard’s in the stand.’”
Beach patrol members are on duty from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day.
“Ocean City Before Condominiums” is the presentation offered on Tuesdays. Hurley said stories will be told about the history of Ocean City and old pictures of the town will be on display. She said mostly adults and senior citizens attend this program.
Don Schaefer and Joe Britvch, members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, will give knot tying lessons on Wednesdays. Schaefer said they explain nautical knots including the bowline, becket bend, figure eight and square knot.
“[Participants] have their own pieces of line they use to learn how to tie the knot,” he said. “It’s not a lecture presentation, it’s very hands-on.”
Schaefer said mostly children attend the program, which has become popular over the years with an average audience of 20-30 people. He said they go through a step-by-step process in teaching the knots and participants will receive a paper with directions, as well.
“It’s always amazing to me how fast the kids pick it up and how slow the adults pick it up,” he said.
Schaefer said at the end of the program they have a contest to see who can tie a bowline knot in 10 seconds. He said it’s a fun way to help participants feel they “passed the course.”
On Thursday, Hurley will lead the “All About Sharks” program. She will present facts and the history of sharks. She will also discuss the various species and what makes them different from other fish.
Hurley said Friday’s program, “Storm Warriors,” is geared more toward older children and adults.
“When they hear the title they think it’s something about hurricane hunters or tornado chasers but it’s not about that all,” she said. “The museum has a lot about the U.S. Life-Saving Service and we want to show what kind of life they had.”
Visitors will learn about the service, one of the forerunners of the Coast Guard, and the duties they had. Participants will also tour the museum’s boat room and see various pieces of equipment used by members of the service.
The week will wrap up on Saturdays with a feeding in the museum’s aquarium. Hurley said participants will see what kinds of marine life lives in the water surrounding Ocean City.
She said they have multiple tanks that house seahorses, horseshoe crabs, blue crabs and an American eel, among others. After discussing the creatures’ eating habits, children will have the opportunity to feed them.
The programs are free, however admission to the museum costs $3 for adults, $2 for senior citizens (62 and older) and active military and $1 for children ages 6-17. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. The Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum is part of Blue Star Museums, a program that offers free admission for all active service members and they families from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
For more information, visit www.ocmuseum.org, call 410-289-4991 or e-mail Sandy@ocmuseum.org.