This Week in Ocean City: Staying safe in the surf and sand

We were out on the beach this weekend, and WOW — the crowds have absolutely exploded and summer is obviously in full swing here in Ocean City. Dodging hungry seagulls and weaving in and out of overzealous children on the beach has never been so rewarding; a slew of 80-90 degree days and sunshine seems to have brought everyone down to the water, and luckily, the sun doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. 

It’s the perfect time of year for our friendly annual refresher on beach safety! The concerns over Vibrio infection and the potential return of sea lice have some beachgoers worried, but in all honesty, there’s not a lot to be worried about as long as you take simple preventative measures and practice basic safety at the beach. Here is our guide on beach safety that’s short, sweet and to the point, and great to share with kids before you bring them to the beach. And if you have any concerns about lice or flesh-eating bacteria… Keep reading down below.

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.

Last Week’s News and How to Stay Safe on the Beach This Summer

Sea lice might be back soon: Over the weekend, the Baltimore Sun reported that sea lice — which are actually minuscule jellyfish larvae that sting and can cause itchy rashes — have already made an appearance this summer in Virginia Beach, VA. They could reach Ocean City by mid-August, right around the same time they showed up last year

But don’t waste too much time worrying whether sea lice are swimming in your section of the beach. Just ask a lifeguard if they’re present. It’s advised that swimmers avoid wearing t-shirts and to cover up with sunscreen, which can reduce contact with the larvae. Last summer, the Ocean City Beach Patrol also recommended that swimmers shower after getting out of the ocean. Learn more about avoiding sea lice and treating rashes.

Those pesky sea lice are back. Here’s what you need to know and whether you’ll find them in Ocean City.

However, the rash-causing, itch-inducing jellyfish larvae are not be confused with the small, parasitic crustaceans which feed on fish to survive (read: actual sea lice), according to marine experts. The parasitic sea lice do not affect humans, only fish, and simply, but misleadingly, share names with the jellyfish larvae form of “sea lice.”

Vibrio is no cause for major concern: Beachgoers became alarmed earlier in the month when a boy swimming in the Sinepuxent Bay was infected with Vibrio, a flesh-eating bacteria. Vibrio is rare — only one case was reported in Worcester County in 2017 — and is caused by undercooked or raw shellfish and by swimming with open wounds. Vibrio can be prevented by avoiding the consumption of undercooked and raw shellfish and by covering wounds with waterproof bandages, and by preventing saltwater contact with open wounds altogether. 

Vibrio: Sorting out the facts about flesh-eating bacteria

Vibrio can be a hazard across Maryland bays and coastal waters, but after a boy was recently infected with the flesh-eating bacteria, concern and confusion has spread about the bacteria. The concern stems from a young boy who contracted Vibrio while swimming in the Sinepuxent Bay at the end of June.


Free Movies on the Beach (July 15 and 17, 8:30-10:30 p.m.): Grab and chair and a blanket and enjoy free movies all summer long on the beach. Monday and Friday movies are shown at 27th Street Beach. All movies are subject to change. In the event of bad weather, the movie may be held inside or canceled.   

Family Beach Olympics (July 16, 6:30-8:45 p.m.): Fun for the whole family – sand castle contests, tug-of-war, relays, & more!

OC Beach Dance Party (July 16, 7-9 p.m.): Get your dancing shoes on for the weekly dance party hosted by local DJ’s at Ocean City’s Caroline Street Stage on the beach by the Boardwalk!
Sunset Park Party Nights (July 18, 7-10 p.m.): Enjoy FREE concerts all summer long at Sunset Park. Attendees are recommended to bring your own chairs. Drinks, including beer, are available for purchase. 7/18 British Invasion Experience (Beatles and other British Groups Tribute Band)
Ocean Games (July 20, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.): This is an annual event conducted in cooperation with the Town of Ocean City, the Ocean City Beach Patrol, and the United States Coast Guard.  The Ocean Games features three main competitions.  “Swim Ocean City”, a WOWSA-sanctioned ocean race, features 1-mile, 3-mile, and 9-mile ocean swims, and Ultimate Flight Frisbee (competitive beach frisbee tournament).
Sundaes in the Park (July 21, 7-9 p.m.): Come to Northside Park each Sunday night, and make yourself an ice cream sundae while enjoying live music and children’s activities. This is a free evening, although there is a small charge for the ice cream. The evening ends with a fireworks display at 9 p.m.
Kristin is a writer and photographer in Ocean City, Maryland, and is the content manager for 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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