Rescue Training For OC Beach Patrol Before Tourist Season - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Rescue Training For OC Beach Patrol Before Tourist Season

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OCEAN CITY, Md. - In three weeks, the quiet off-season beach towns here on the Eastern Shore will transform.

Memorial Day weekend marks the first day of the busy summer season, but our local lifeguards aren't kidding themselves: they know folks will be hitting the water before they are back on duty.

But a warning from beach patrol: if you swim before memorial day, it's at your own risk.

"Don't swim when the beach patrol is not on duty," said Capt. Butch Arbin of Ocean City Beach Patrol. "We're really good at protecting you when we're working. We're really bad at protecting you when we're not there."

During last year's busy summer season, Ocean City Beach Patrol rescued nearly 2,899 people from drowning with 95 percent of those cases because of a high rip current.

"What will happen is it pushes big waves in, those big waves have to make its way back out that causes stronger rip currents," said Arbin.

Every one of these trained lifeguards know how serious water rescues can be. Sgt. James McVey says he remembers as a kid watching an Ocean City lifeguard make rescues. But on Sunday afternoon, the 11-year lifeguard veteran was the one being rescued as apart of an off-season training exercise.

"Looking back at shore reminds you of the feeling that a victim goes through, reminding them to stay calm in this situation," said McVey.

The Coast Guard, Ocean City Fire Department, Maryland State Police, along with beach patrol, ran through a number of rescue scenarios, showing what multi-agency response can do in an emergency, before an actual emergency.

Recruiting and training for this season's lifeguards started last summer. We are told there will be 59 rookies, in addition to the current group patrolling the 10-mile stretch of beach in Ocean City.

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