Ocean City Beach Patrol prepares as summer season draws near
OCEAN CITY, Md. – With temperatures getting up towards the 80’s around Delmarva Wednesday, many Marylanders are starting to think about hitting the beach. Ocean City Beach Patrol says they’ve been preparing for this summer for weeks already. Over 90% of their staff from last year requested to return to the stands, and there are about 35 hopefuls in the rookie academy.
Ocean City Beach Patrol Captain Butch Arbin says he’s excited to have a full roster for this year. But he says recruiting came with its usual challenges. “Our biggest issue is a lot of people sign up to take the test. In Ocean Pines we had 55 people at some point indicate their desire to take our physical assessment last Sunday. Out of those 55, 17 showed up. So, signing up is easy. Showing up is hard,” said Capt. Arbin.
Capt. Arbin says last summer went really well, in terms of people keeping COVID-19 precautions in mind. He adds that he’s expecting a busy beach year again. “People really did a good job in Ocean City with social distancing. They spread out from the water’s edge, all the way back to the dune line. I’ve been doing this for 49 years this year. That is unusual. People tend to congregate near the water. So, we did see the crowds last year. I’m expecting Ocean City to have an incredibly busy and good summer this year,” said Capt. Arbin.
Capt. Arbin also says he wants to remind everybody to keep their feet in the sand until a lifeguard is on the stand. That’s to say, it’s always dangerous to swim when no lifeguards are present. “When we get warm weather people start thinking they can go in the ocean. It’s really important that they realize they shouldn’t go swimming until we have a lifeguard on duty,” said Capt. Arbin.
This past Sunday, Ocean City Beach Patrol held a test for rookies. On June 5th, they’ll be running another test to fill any needed spots. The paid training academy starts on Memorial Day Weekend. Lifeguards will be ready to go, and on the job on May 29th.