Ocean City Beach Patrol Equipped To Keep Swimmers Safe All Season

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Linh Bui joined WJZ Eyewitness News in July 2013 as a weekend anchor...
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OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ)–As Marylanders hit the beach this Memorial Day weekend, the Ocean City Beach Patrol watches closely. Lifeguards put their lives at risk to keep swimmers out of danger.

Linh Bui takes a look at how they’ve been preparing for the summer.

Life-saving skills are put to the test. The newest members of the Ocean City Beach Patrol have finished training.

Memorial Day weekend kicks off a busy season.

“Every day is tough. We start very early. We run a 300-meter sand sprint and then a very long swim in the water,” said Connor Barrand, Ocean City Beach Patrol.

“The water’s a little bit cold right now, but you start to get used to it after a while. Your body starts to get a little bit numb, but we’re all pushing through it,” said Cameron Shaw, Ocean City Beach Patrol.

Most of the lifeguards are college students. And they put in some 50 hours of training in five days.

“So from day one when they hit that chair, they don’t have to think about ‘What do I do if this happens?’ You really want it to become an automatic response,” said Lt. Edward Kovacs, Ocean City Beach Patrol.

They can make up to 6,000 rescues in a season.

The biggest danger? Rip currents.

It’s Kelly McGrath’s sixth summer with beach patrol.

She recalls a dramatic save.

“It was an 18-year-old female girl who had went out swimming with her friends before we got on duty,” McGrath said. “She had no pulse. So we worked on her on the beach and she left with a pulse and breathing, and she’s doing fine today.”

Most rescues occur when lifeguards are not on duty. So as the weather heats up and more people hit the beach, remember to keep your feet in the sand until a lifeguard is in the stand.

“Enjoy the beach. Enjoy the town. But please do it safely so you can come back and visit us again,” Kovacs said.

Starting this weekend, more than 80 lifeguards will be out in the chairs, and there will also be roving patrols on ATVs.

The lifeguards will be on duty every day, from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

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