BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Ocean City Beach Patrol has been told not to bother women who go topless on the beach.

Those guidelines were sent to employees in a memo from Beach Patrol Capt. Butch Arbin this week.

The policy — which instructs employees to document instances of female toplessness but not to approach the woman in question — has reportedly been in effect since May 20.

This comes after a woman who advocates for ladies being allowed to go topless in public contacted the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s office about the legality of bare-chested females last year.

“It’s not actually written or codified there is no book that has a definition of what is and what isn’t indecent exposure and that’s the reason there’s an ambiguity,” said legal expert Adam Ruther. “She’s raising an argument that because men are allowed to go bare-chested so are women should be allowed to go bare-chested”

The Associated Press identified that Eastern Shore woman as Chelsea Covington, a national advocate for the “topfreedom” movement.

At that time, Worcester County AG Beau Oglesby ran the matter up the flagpole, requesting an opinion from Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh.

A spokesperson for Ocean City says they are still waiting for the opinion, but the mayor and city council are “strongly opposed” and are exploring what legal actions they can take to prevent topless women on the beach.

Ocean City Police said they’ll address concerns on a case by case basis.

“It’s really based on the particular situation and how it’s presented to us,” Ocean City police said.

Maryland is one of several states with ambiguous topless laws. Some cities like Austin, Texas, Boulder, Colorado, and Madison, Wisconsin have what’s known as “top freedom.”

Some fear the family friendly feel of Ocean City could be in jeopardy if toplessness becomes the norm.

“The beach is something that we’re trying to incorporate as a family,” one beach visitor said. “It would turn us away and we would just go elsewhere.”

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Comments (16)
  1. MD is in for a fight !!!!!!!

  2. The one, sure way to make this a big deal is to publicize it. The State and local government should ignore it, and the police should let those few women who want to go topless do it. I suspect there are few women who will want to participate it such a public display.

  3. I think the decision goes against the concept of a family resort which is the way Ocean City has always marketed itself. I think it will be extremely uncomfortable for families with children to be on the beach with topless women.

    1. I think your concept of what constitutes what is uncomfortable for children is rather ironic considering what breasts are primarily for. People will get used to it, just as we did bikinis, and even female ankles further back…

  4. ^^^Teach your kids the human body is a natural and beautiful thing. a topless woman is only a big deal if you make it one.

  5. “family friendly feel?” Really? Not quite unless obnoxious drunken 20-somethings, fights and loud rude people is considered Famikly Friendly.

  6. Does this rule apply to poolside toplessness? It should include all beach/pool toplessness. I have no problem with it. Seen one set ….you seen them all. Go to a religious retreat if your against this. Don’t impose your hang-up’s on everyone else.

  7. Ocean City has always had two faces. One seen by families vacationing on the beach, the other by teens and young adults going buck wild and partying. My son is 26, soon (this month) to turn 27, A couple years before he was born I did security in OC. I had to chase skinny dippers out of hotels pools and saw people totally nude on the beach a few hours after the sun went down.

    Robin/Eagle Dr had extensive police patrols, yet the condo I rented had previously been equipped with a pool. The owners filled the pool in because someone drunk dived off the balcony and went head first into concrete missing the pool. Police patrols were highly needed then for safety, and probably needed more so now. Releaving cops of enforcing unneeded laws is one more duty they are burdened with, and more time spend on more serious issues.

    OC has always been fun for all ages, but the two have had there separation from each other. Even Summer Breakers are polite enough not to disturb families. If this was Europe no one would even bat an eye. People who think nudity is un-freindly to children, have never been involved in nudist families.

    On nudist camps kids run naked and free, teens boys and teen girls play naked! Here is the kicker… they no only don’t need to secretly hide somewhere to see each other naked, they don’t have sexual thought about each other if they see each other naked! Maybe I should any additional thoughts, they are teens!

    When researching the effects on nudity on children and teens, it was found these kids grow to be better balanced and less ashamed of their bodies. This is the result found by many studies done over the years. Also children raised in nudist camps and nudist families are much less likely to have teen pregnancies.

    Of course I am a nudist. So fully nudity at Ocean City would make me feel more relaxed. The only reason for the more “Family” feel of OC is no one has enough cloths on to carry a concealed weapon like in major cities like maybe Baltimore, D.C. or New York…

  8. Take it from city elected that are so hung up being politically correct they’re sickening. None have had any open mindedness in decades. They make me sick. If they had it their way…we would be mandated to attend church 7 days a week. Someone tell me what is so obscene about women breast. What’s the big deal.Most of the elected in Ocean City hasn’t seen their own or spouses breast in decades. Everyone of them desperately need to be replaced in the next election. All are living in the past………

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