The sunny, hot weather and beautiful beaches drew record crowds (watch to see if beach taggers collected more than last year’s record of $3.8 million) to the eight-mile-long oceanfront and made the summer of 2012 a very busy season for the Ocean City Beach Patrol. The 165-member squad, nationally known for its lifesaving skills and athletic prowess, was prepared.
Under the leadership of the officer corps, the lifeguards upheld the beach patrol’s 114-year-old tradition of excellence in protecting beach users. The OCBP, a branch of the city’s fire department, is led by Fire Chief Christopher Bruenig, OCBP Operations Chief Tom Mullineaux, Senior Lt. Jeff Garbutt, Senior Lt. Dennis Swan, Training Officer Mark Jamieson, Lt. Brian Booth, Lt. Stephanie Faber, Lt. Ron Kirk, Lt. Paul Gallagher and Lt. Otis Reich.
Beach Patrol medics, working at first aid stations located at 1st, 12th, 34th and 59th streets, handled many beach-related injuries and medical emergencies. The medics were: Senior Medic Lindsay Zwiebel, Chris Dollarton, Adam Dryden, Patrick Dugan, J.J. Francis, Amanda Grau, Ali Gregory, Danielle Griffith and James Nunan.
Jack Rush kept all the lifesaving equipment in top-notch condition.
Training Officer Mark Jamieson spent the summer teaching the rookie lifeguards ocean rescue techniques and how to keep bathers out of dangerous rip currents.
An example of the lifeguards’ ability to protect life occurred on Saturday, Aug. 4, on the Surf Road beach. Lifeguards Carly Wray and Kaela Woods saved the life of a two-year-old girl who had stopped breathing. Woods radioed for help and began first aid. After doing all the right things, Wray reported, “The Beach Patrol trained us in what we needed to be trained for. They drill it and drill it into your head. We acted quickly and the Beach Patrol acted quickly. Everything went really smoothly.”
Kristen Kelleher, Ocean City Sentinel staff writer, told the whole story on the front page of the August 15 newspaper under the headline, “Lifeguards save child having a seizure on the beach.”
On June 28, the OCBP honored former Captain George T. Lafferty by dedicating the patrol’s competition boat. He stood on the deck of his W. 17th Street house watching lifeguards Dylan Kosten and Matt Garbutt row to his dock. Lafferty thanked lifeguards for remembering him. He died on July 22, three weeks short of his 94th birthday.
The lifeguards held their Junior Lifeguard School where 180 boys and girls received instruction in ocean safety and rescue methods; sponsored the T. John Carey Masters Ocean Swim with 263 swimmers; and, for the 103rd time since 1901, participated in the Ocean City Baby Parade.
The summer of 2013 is only eight months away and the Ocean City Beach Patrol is looking forward to building on its century-old reputation of excellence in bather protection.