Capt. Arbin asks visitors to ‘take their things with them’ when leaving resort beach

(Aug. 2, 2019) The discovery of a 10 x 10 tent canopy and its metal braces submerged in the water by 34th Street Saturday morning led to a removal operation that required more than a show of hands.

After running into the canopy, a beach patron reported it to the Ocean City Beach Patrol. Ocean City Beach Patrol Sgt. Mat Postell, the area supervisor, dug and pulled on the brackets and cloth in an attempt to drag it out of the surf, but was unsuccessful as the sand was too heavy. 

“We’re concerned because it becomes an obstruction,” Ocean City Beach Patrol Capt. Butch Arbin said. 

The beach patrol marked the canopy with a buoy to warn the public and waited for low tide the next morning, when the Ocean City Public Works Department could dig the canopy out with a back hoe. 

The canopy and its metal skeleton was pulled out by 10 a.m. and Ocean City Beach Patrol 1st Lt. Skip Lee removed the remaining pieces. Lee said it took about an hour to remove the canopy and the heavy equipment from the beach. 

Arbin believes that the canopy was left on the beach Friday night and then storms blew it into the ocean. 

“When people leave the beach, they need to take their things with them,” Arbin said. “Don’t leave them out.” 

According Kristin Joson, Ocean City Beach Patrol public education coordinator, canopies and umbrellas can be swept away by winds of at least 20 miles per hour. That can result in serious injury to anyone unfortunate enough to be in their path.

Joson said that if someone rents an umbrella, they must ensure that the beach stand operator sets it. Poles must be rocked back and forth until they are 18 inches into the sand. 

To prevent wind from sweeping up the umbrella or canopy, tilt the pole into the wind. Umbrellas and canopies should never be left unattended, she said. If the day is particularly windy, umbrellas and canopies, especially low-quality ones, should not be set at all. 

Finally, umbrellas and canopies must be placed behind beach patrol stands, per a city ordinance.

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