(July 26, 2019) Ocean City lifeguards will gather on the beach at North Division Street, this Saturday, for the annual Beach Patrol Crew Competition, beginning at 6 p.m.
Since 1973 it has been a requirement that all Ocean City lifeguards – approximately 200 members – participate in the crew competitions.
“It was meant to be inter-squad motivation with a little bit of bragging rights and a workout … It has grown to help camaraderie and teamwork,” said OCBP Lt. Skip Lee, the competition’s organizer.
Plus, he added, the guards enjoy the competition.
Lifeguards will be split into 18 teams, grouped together by the streets they watch over.
Unlike other voluntary beach patrol competitions, the Ocean City crew competitions are designed so every lifeguard has to participate and work together as a team.
Five events will take place, all of them designed to incorporate the rescue equipment guards use on a daily basis.
In the first event, Landline Rescue, a lifeguard will swim with a rope around his or her waist to a “victim” in the water and bring the individual back to shore.
This event will be followed by Paddleboard Rescue Relay, where participants will use the same boards they have for everyday rescues, to paddle to a marker and back.
The third event will be Run-Swim-Run, which Lee considers to be the “most applicable” to what lifeguards do every day. In this event the lifeguards will run 100 meters, swim 50 meters, then run another 100 meters.
Next, is the Soft Sand Relay, where the lifeguards will move closer to the Boardwalk and use the challenge of running in soft sand as a twist on a basic relay.
Finally, the “most exciting and fan-centered” event, according to Lee, is Tug-o-War.
Each event will last between five and 25 minutes. Gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded after each event to teams finishing first through third.
A 2019 champion and a runner-up team will be named based on a point system after the competition at the annual beach patrol banquet held in August.
American flags and a stage will be set up for the event on North Division Street near Quiet Storm Surf Shop. Jeff Brabitz will take his place on the stage again this year to emcee the games. Everyone is welcome to bring a chair or towel to sit in the sand and watch the competitions.