OCEAN CITY – As Ocean City Beach Patrol personnel return to other obligations, the number of surf rescue technicians available to staff the stands along the 10-mile beach decreases. As a result, the beach patrol has implemented a reduced coverage plan effective Aug. 20. For their safety, beach patrons should take the extra precaution and walk the distance to the nearest lifeguard on a stand.
This reduction in personnel is an annual occurrence, but is being complicated by the early start of college classes and the return of education professionals to school systems throughout the state. During the first week of reduced coverage beach patrol staffing levels will be no less than 60 percent of the mid-season deployment.
The patrol has had 48 SRTs return to other responsibility prior to Monday, Aug. 20 and have 55 additional SRTs scheduled to leave employment within a week. However, as a direct result of the beach patrol’s recruiting and retention programs (including the incentive program), it will have additional returning surf rescue technicians to allow it to increase the total number of stands on weekends as well as for Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Labor Day Weekend. In addition, the beach patrol will increase the number of mobile rescue units patrolling the beach.
Further impacting this situation is tropical storm activity in the Atlantic. As tropical events form and approach the East Coast they cause rough surf. This heavy surf contributes to the frequency and severity of rip currents. The beach patrol believes that these conditions warrant beach patrons taking extra precautions and walking the short distance to swim in the vicinity of a lifeguard on a stand.
Lifeguards will be on duty everyday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3. Coverage will gradually reduce until the Sunday of Sunfest weekend, Sept. 23. This reduction is realized as both the total number of guard stands and their placement along the beach decreases. Beginning on Monday, Sept. 24, the beach patrol will have mobile surf rescue response personnel available for intervention should the need arise.
Guard stand placement may relocate daily as conditions change. The exact location of guard stands is available everyday by calling Beach Patrol Headquarters at 410-289-7556.
The Ocean City Beach Patrol strongly encourages all beach patrons to restrict any beach or water related activities to times and locations where beach patrol personnel are on duty.
For additional information on Beach Patrol Operations go to WWW.OCOCEAN.COM/OCBP