(Feb. 15, 2019) The Ocean City Beach Patrol is kicking off its yearly application process not only to find surf rescue technicians for the upcoming season, but to also hire surf beach facilitators.
While the position is not new – it was first introduced in the 90s – surf beach facilitators are part of the Ocean City Beach Patrol crew. Surf beach facilitators monitor the surfing beaches.
“Back in the 70s and 80s, any beach in Ocean City that did not have a beachfront building was okay for surfing,” Capt. Butch Arbin said. “Then, the last beach in Ocean City, which was 55th Street, which [had been] the last beach available for surfing, had a building constructed and there were no surfing beaches available. So at that point, the Town of Ocean City decided to do the rotating surfing beaches, which is what we do now.
“We needed to keep people out of the waters there and get the surfers to stay in the area, so we were employing lifeguards [and] surf rescue technicians that acted to keep people off the surfing beach,” he continued. “But, it’s much harder to find a person who can qualify as a surf rescue technician so I came up with the idea of creating a surf beach facilitator which meant we could have somebody do the job but they didn’t have the responsibility to run and swim.”
Surf beach facilitators train at the academy just like surf rescue technicians. They receive the same CPR and first aid certification training, however, they do not need to perform the swim and running tests.
“Surf beach facilitators basically establish the surfing beach and maintain and control it, they also enforce the laws on the beach and if they’re not busy with surfers, then they actually can move away from the surfing beach and enforce the laws and ordinances in the nearby areas,” Arbin said.
The occupation requires the surf beach facilitator to show up a half hour before the guards do at 9:30 a.m. and establish the surfing beach for that day based on a schedule which is approved by the Town of Ocean City.
They will place flags and yellow stands and block off one beach, which is around two blocks wide, that day. The surfing beach is then rotated two blocks south every day.
The Ocean City Beach Patrol has around 207 employees, with nine surf beach facilitator positions. As the position does not require the rigorous testing needed to become a surf rescue technician, it can be very competitive.
“With only nine [positions], if eight decide to come back the next summer, that means we can only hire one,” Arbin said.
Two surf beach facilitators are stationed everyday starting from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.
The first Ocean City Beach Patrol tryouts of the year will take place in Salisbury on Sunday, Feb. 24, at Salisbury University. The second will be held at the University of Maryland, College Park, on Saturday, March 2. Registration begins at 10 a.m. both days.
A surf rescue technician in training starts at $10.32 with an opportunity to make $14.94 an hour after completing certification, while a surf beach facilitator starts out at $11.71 an hour.
Interviews for surf beach facilitators will take approximately 30 minutes.
To apply, register online at https://oceancitymd.gov/oc/departments/emergency-services/beach-patrol/.