OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Beach Patrol (OCBP) starts guarding the 10 miles of beach the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, May 25, and guards through Sunfest weekend, which is usually the third weekend in September.

Residents and visitors may see beach patrol activities around town before Memorial Day weekend, but this is the OCBP’s Surf Rescue Academy, which is when rookie personnel are trained.

The first training academy begins Sunday, May 19, with an enrollment of 35 new employees, with a second academy beginning Sunday, June 16. The OCBP will be conducting one additional pre-employment physical skill evaluation, on Saturday, June 8, for appointment to the second training academy.

The OCBP is specifically looking for individuals who are available to work till the end of the season, Sunday, Sept. 22. To register for this opportunity, visit the beach patrol website at www.ococean.com/ocbp

Although the OCBP does not require any experience or previous certifications, all rookie surf rescue technicians have successfully completed the pre-employment physical skill evaluation. This pre-employment physical skill evaluation is a 12-phase, six-hour process, concluding with an interview and the offer of an appointment to one of the two Surf Rescue Academies.

During the 65-hour Surf Rescue Academy, all participants will be drug tested, participate in physical skills training and practice, attend classroom instruction, have guest presenters from other agencies and re-qualify in swimming and running. Once Surf Rescue Academy is completed, the Surf Rescue Technician (lifeguard) will have all the training and certification necessary to take a stand on one of Ocean City’s beaches.

Starting May 25, the beach patrol will be on duty every day from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  At 5:25 p.m., you will see the lifeguards signaling everyone out of the ocean. This is their way of letting the beach-goers know they are going off duty and they should cease all water-related activities until 10 a.m. the next day when lifeguards are back on duty.  

The OCBP continues its efforts to educate the public, warning of the dangers of swimming on unguarded beaches, and that the OCBP does whatever it takes to make sure people leave the ocean before making that last turn to the west, leaving the beaches for the night.