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Ocean City

Ocean City, Maryland Beach Patrol information

The Ocean City Beach Patrol is an organization of men and women dedicated to ocean rescue and beach safety along the shoreline of Ocean City, Md. In what follows, we’ll provide much of the basic Ocean City Maryland Beach Patrol Information you should have to understand how the OCBP works, what it is important and how to join. Many are educators during the year including Melbourne LeRoy Arbin III, better known locally as Captain Butch Arbin, a summer guard for 40 years and head of all the “surf rescue technicians” (SRTs) who patrol the beaches throughout the summer. More than 200 men and women dedicated to maintaining a safe and orderly environment along the ten miles of Maryland’s mid-Atlantic shoreline that is Ocean City.

SRT is a title hard-earned, well respected, and often coveted title in Ocean City, Maryland. Their duties include educating the public, warning of potential dangers from rip tides to jelly fish, rescuing distressed and injured swimmers, responding to emergency situations, administering first aid, reuniting the lost with the searching, enforcing city ordinances, and miscellaneous other tasks as assigned.
The Beach Patrol or SRTs are on duty from 10 am until 5:30 pm daily, Memorial Day through Labor Day. After Labor Day and through Sunfest weekend (usually the third week in September), the Beach Patrol implements Fall schedule which includes fewer guards and fewer stands. After Sunfest, the Beach Patrol no longer mans the guard stands on the beach, but has roaming patrols on four-wheel drive vehicles that monitor the beach and swimmers through October. While the Beach Patrol strongly encourages people not to swim when SRT’s are not in the stands, they are available to lend a hand if necessary to save the swimmers who don’t heed their warnings.

Information on How to Qualify for the Beach Patrol

The lifeguards that become SRT’s are athletic, hard-working and responsible individuals who are qualified by Ocean City’s team specifically. If you want to work as a surf rescue technician in Ocean City, Maryland, contact Captain Arbin at Beach Patrol Headquarters at 410-289-7556. More information can be found at the Town’s website:

You can also email for more information toocbp@ococean.com

List of OCBP Qualifications:

  • 17 years of age or older.
  • must be able to
    • Complete a 300 meter soft sand run in less than 65 seconds (400 meter run in 80 seconds offsite testing.)
    • Complete a 400 meter ocean swim in less than 10 minutes (500 meter in less than 10 minutes offsite in a pool.)
    • enter and exit the ocean through the surf
    • Complete a series of simulated rescues in the surf incorporating the rescue buoy.
    • Complete a rescue using a cross-chest carry and victim removal techniques.
    • Complete a medley of 150 meter run, 100 meter swim, and a 150 meter run.
    • Complete a tower transport of the SRT chair a distance of 20 meters.
    • Complete a series of basic lifesaving skills in which you perform holds and releases in a controlled water setting.
    • Complete a personal interview.
    • move an unconscious person of 150 lbs.
    • see for 400 meters
    • hear and locate a whistle blast from 300 meters
    • speak and read English


Once a candidate meets the necessary physical requirements, the Ocean City beach patrol trains for the job in an 8-day surf rescue academy. All necessary skills, techniques, procedures and protocols will be taught during this paid training program. Topics include open water rescue, beach patrol policies and procedures, basic oceanography, use of rescue equipment, first aid, CPR, semaphore communications (series of signals using flags), radio protocol, and physical training consistent with the demanding nature of being an Ocean City life guard. Following graduation from the academy, potential SRTs will have 3 weeks of supervised probation. Only those that graduate from one of the most rigorous training program in the nation will be allowed to sit on the lifeguard stands you see on the beaches in Ocean City, Maryland.

SRTs in the Ocean City Beach Patrol have to re-certify each year. Lt. West Smith is the Beach Patrol’s Director of Training — he is also a professor at the University of Miami — and will be the primary contact during the training and recertification processes.

Ocean City Maryland Junior Beach Patrol
Members of the Ocean City Maryland Junior Beach patrol.

Junior Beach Patrol Information

For those under 17 who think that the Ocean City Beach Patrol is something that might interest them, there is the Junior Beach Patrol program that mimics the training and activities of the certified SRTs.. Registration for this program begins in early March and is a four day program offered each week beginnin in July and running through mid-August. There is also a one afternoon introductory camp offered on Thursdays. More information is available from the Recreation and Parks Department at 410-250-0125.

Beach Safety Presentations

Every Sunday morning at various locations along the ten mile Ocean City beach, Surf Rescue Technicians will give a brief overview of Ocean City and the beach environment. They will tell spectators about the weather and beach conditions for the day and will be available to answer any questions.

Public Education Outreach Programs

Just when you thought the Ocean City Beach Patrol spent all their time training and working on the beaches in Ocean City, you learn something new: the participants offer activities, programs, speakers, and seminars to various groups such as boy and girl scouts, church groups, camps, schools, and civic organizations. They will conduct water safety demonstrations and talks not just in Ocean City, but throughout the region. They also provide tips and strategies for keeping children safe on the beach and in the ocean. If you are interested in this program and a speaker from the Ocean City Beach Patrol, contact them at 410-289-7556 or email them at ocbp@ococean.com.

Surfing Beaches

During the off-season, surfing along Ocean City’s beaches is not controlled. During the high season, however, surfing is only allowed at certain beaches during the hours when the beach is guarded. Please click here for more information on the surfing beaches in Ocean City, Maryland.

Contact Information:

Town of Ocean City Beach Patrol

109 Dorchester St.Ocean City, MD 21842

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  1. Ocean City Beach Patrol,

    Hello my name is Ashley Schmitt and I am in charge of planning Wor-Wic Child Development Center’s Camp Jordan. This is a summer program for approximately 22 school children ages 5-12. I have read online and have heard from several people about your Beach Safety Presentations. If possible I would like some more information on how this is done and where we would have to arrive in Ocean City. I would like to possibly schedule a visit for Friday, June 14, 2013 for our Summer Camp. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank You.

    Ashley Schmitt

    Wor-Wic Child Development Center
    Administrative Associate
    32000 Campus Dr.
    Salisbury, MD 21804


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