The Ocean City Beach Patrol has been saving lives along Maryland’s Atlantic coast since 1930. The job remains that of “an athlete with a buoy,” and the reality of the responsibility dispels any stereotype of a cushy summer job filled by a youth merely sitting all day in the sun.
Aided by semaphore flags, the beach patrol’s lifeguards have reunited countless lost children with parents. They are charged to enforce the town’s beach ordinances; and sometimes at personal risk, they navigate rip currents and heavy surf to rescue distressed swimmers and bring them ashore to safety.
This brief history examines the innovations, training, competitions, organizational structure, and character building that are all part of the serious lifesaving work of Maryland’s Ocean City Beach Patrol—young men and women whose inestimable contributions over the years have given rise to the patrol’s international reputation in lifesaving circles.