(June 28, 2019) Learn about the creatures that inhabit land and sea, Ocean City history, knot-tying, beach safety and sharks during the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum’s 10th annual summer educational programs, which begin July 1 and continue until Aug. 24.
Most of the free 30-minute programs will take place on the Boardwalk at the tram station, just north of the museum, at 10 a.m. There will not be a program on July 4.
“These programs are free, they’re fun and they’re built for the entire family,” Museum Assistant Curator Christine Okerblom said. “They’re not just for children, they’re for all age.”
During Monday’s new program, the “Petticoat Regime,” four Ocean Pines Players actors will perform a live reenactment.
“They’re all sitting around a table drinking tea and it really just takes you through the life of these women and what they did for Ocean City and what kind of positive impact they had,” Okerblom said. “Doing a history program helps us meet our mission which is to inspire people through the education and interpretation of Ocean City’s cultural and natural history. We wanted to reinvent the program. The petticoat program was a fun way to educate people but also to entertain people.”
The Ocean City Beach Patrol will lead a beach safety class on Tuesdays with information on rip tides, currents, digging holes, what the job of a lifeguard entails, prevention tips and how to use semaphore flags.
The sign on the back of lifeguard stands is used as a guide to direct safety seminars for Boardwalk guests. Participants can look forward to giveaways such as pencils, coloring books, sunscreen samples and waterproof first aid kits.
Members of the Ocean City Beach Patrol will bring an ATV or Jet Ski for kids to pose for pictures next to as well as brochures on how to remain safe on the beach.
Lt. Ward Kovacs of the Ocean City Beach Patrol encourages adults and children to come out and learn about the safety hazards and ways to avoid danger.
“We try to cater to people of all ages,” Kovacs said. “The most important lessons we want to make sure people understand is to stay out of the water until the lifeguards are on duty, to avoid digging holes deeper than the knee and to follow R.I.P.”
R.I.P. stands for Relax, I need help and (swim) Parallel to the shore. Kovacs encourages everyone to follow these instructions to remain safe during their stay at the beach.
Participating in the free museum programs allows beach patrol members to fulfill the education portion of its three-part mission, which also includes prevention and intervention, according to Lt. Kovacs.
A staple returning for the 27th year are lessons on knot tying, held every Wednesday outside the museum at the southern end of the Boardwalk by the tram station.
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary members return to demonstrate a number of different types of knots including a figure eight, reef knot, bowline, a double half hitch and clove hitch.
“This is something we enjoy doing,” said Don Schaefer, a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteer.
Schaefer and fellow volunteer Joe Britvch will also hand out a one-page brochure with information and instructions about the different kind to guests to take home and practice.
“Our theory is they learn best by doing it and not just watching,” Schaefer said.
Thursday’s “All About Sharks,” which a museum educator will present this summer, is a popular activity. The informative program focuses on sharks found off the coast of Ocean City.
“Our shark program is a very well-attended program … it’s interactive, we have a lot of educational tools and visuals that people can touch and take a close look at,” Okerblom said. “You can even hold a Megalodon shark tooth and examine a real mako and tiger shark jaw.”
On Friday, “Land, Sky and Sea” will highlight how the island was formed, what birds fly overhead and what creatures inhabit the ocean and coastal bays.
“It teaches people about how the island was formed, the 1933 storm and how the inlet was created. It talks about what flies overhead, what birds you are going to be seeing when you visit in Ocean City and then it talks about the sea,” Okerblom said. “At the end of the program, once our educator is done talking, then you use binoculars and you work with the educator to look out into the inlet and try to identify things that are flying by.”
On Saturdays, visitors can head inside the Life-Saving Station Museum to watch staff feed a seahorse, American eels, a horseshoe crab, a blue crab, a diamondback terrapin and other sea creatures in the museum’s aquarium room while learning about the animals.
“Participants will get the chance to touch and feed a live horseshoe crab at our aquarium feeding,” Okerblom said.
Last year, several hundred people participated in the museum’s free programs during its two-month run and they continue to grow in popularity each year.
“It’s a very well-attended schedule of programs, and we have families and individuals that have been coming back on an annual basis,” Okerblom said.
Most of the Life-Saving Station Museum’s programs take place at the Boardwalk tram station, just north of the museum. The station has benches for guests to sit on and a roof for protection from sun and rain, though the free programs will be canceled in extreme conditions.
The beach safety program on Tuesdays takes place on the Boardwalk directly in front of the museum and Saturday’s aquarium feeding program is inside the museum at 813 S. Atlantic Avenue, at the southern end of the Boardwalk.
The 30-minute programs will be offered Monday through Saturday at 10 a.m. Although the programs are free to attend, admission to the museum costs $3 for adults, $2 for senior citizens age 62 and older and active duty military members, and $1 for children ages 6-17. Children 5 and younger get into the museum for free.
“We’re looking forward to another good year,” Okerblom said.
The Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. throughout the summer.