(May 26, 2023) It is so exciting to be at the beginning of another summer season in beautiful Ocean City.
We are eagerly anticipating the many visitors that will vacation in our resort town this summer. Sun worshipers, graduates, boogie boarders, surfers, beach enthusiasts and just about anyone that wants to get away for a relaxing and fun vacation will be arriving. Some have been planning all winter for their beach vacation and anticipate a picture-perfect week.
The Beach Patrol is preparing to begin our season, and our guards are ready to fulfill all three aspects of our mission: education, prevention, and intervention. This mission guides our organization. As a retired educator with Charles County Public Schools for over 32 years and 18 years as the Beach Patrol’s Public Education Coordinator, I know the importance of the first part of our mission.
Education is not only one of the best gifts you can give someone, but it is also incredibly empowering. Ocean City Today has been an asset for us in helping to achieve the educational part of our mission. Understanding the dangers that our ocean presents allows a person to make decisions to keep themselves and their family safe while vacationing in Ocean City. Each week I will continue to share some of the most important things to remember to make your stay safe and enjoyable.
We provide education to the public through many outreach venues. Our Junior Beach Patrol program will return to a full roster of 30 campers for each session (due to the program’s popularity we have added two additional sessions for 2023).
We will participate in the weekly Lifesaving Museum schedule, Sundaes in the Park and have safety articles in multiple publications.
You will see our most impactful educational opportunities on the beach with our lifeguards performing their beach safety talks and the individual or small group “EDUs” that are performed daily when needed.
The second part of our mission is prevention. Preventive actions are the main tools for keeping the public safe and avoiding more serious situations. Our knowledge and expertise help us to inform the public that they are potentially getting into unsafe or dangerous situations before we must intervene. To accomplish this, we must be willing to get off our stands and interact with the public.
You can help your guard by following the local ordinances (rules) and laws, so they do not have to leave their stand as often, to ask you to stop a prohibited activity (that often the person already knows is not allowed).
The final aspect of our mission, intervention, relies on the application of the lifeguard’s physical skills and training. Although executing the first two aspects of our mission reduces the likelihood that we will need to intervene, we know through experience that there will be instances on the beach when we will be required to perform first aid and water rescues as routine parts of our daily duties.
As we fulfill our mission, you might also be interested to know the statistics of a typical summer season for the OCBP.
• Returning Lost and Found Individuals (1,000 to 2,000)
• Minor First Aids (1,500 to 2,500)
• Medical Emergencies with EMS (100 to 200)
• Head/Neck/Spinal responses (80 to 100)
• Police assists (75 to 125)
• USCG / DNRP assists (10 to 25)
• Preventative actions in water (75,000 to 150,000)
• Surf Rescues (2,000 to 4,000)
Ocean City is a great place to vacation, and we are in competition for the continued loyalty of our visitors. We will continue to do our part as lifeguards and as ambassadors for the Town of Ocean City. To get current information about the Beach Patrol, safety tips, as well as daily stats and current beach conditions, you can visit our website at oceancitymd.gov/ocbp or follow us on Instagram or our Facebook page.
We will never know how many lives have already been saved by the lifeguards’ attentiveness. But you can help and do your part by reading our safety advice each week and sharing the information with others.
We also encourage you to check in with the lifeguard each time you visit to learn about current conditions. Each day they write a beach or ocean tip on the back of their stand. We can’t wait to be a part of your wonderful experiences in Ocean City, and always remember to “Keep your feet in the sand until the lifeguard’s in the stand!”
As added protection for you and your family always locate the nearest stand with a guard and swim on that beach.
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