NEW FOR WEDNESDAY: Councilman Seeks Crackdown On Beach Drinking

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City councilman is calling for a campaign to remind Ocean City visitors there is to be no booze permitted on the beach.

At this week’s Mayor and Council meeting, Councilman Brent Ashley said he came across a group of men last weekend loading a large cooler of beer into their car at a local shopping center. He asked where the party was and they responded they were going to the beach. Ashley reminded the men it is illegal to drink alcohol on Ocean City’s beaches and they replied they do it all time while hiding it from the lifeguards.

Ashley then called Ocean City Beach Patrol Captain Butch Arbin, who told Ashley alcohol is by far the biggest problem on the beach, and although lifeguards keep an eye out for it, people hide alcohol or disguise it.

“Most of the behavior problems experienced on the beach are alcohol related. Numerous rescues have occurred because of alcohol consumption,” Ashley said.

Arbin also informed Ashley he is asking police for increased patrols in the Inlet area because of the alcohol problem.

“From a public safety perspective and in order to maintain a family friendly atmosphere and to return more decency to our beach, I would suggest that we begin a public awareness campaign to actively inform all visitors that we will have a zero tolerance policy towards alcohol or public intoxication on our beach,” Ashley said. “Such a campaign could include but not be limited to, large signs on the beach, messages on our reader boards in town and the entrances into town, as well as messages on the government cable channel. Perhaps messages could be displayed on the buses and trams as well.”

Ashley also asked commercial establishments that sell or serve alcohol to post signs that remind customers that alcohol is prohibited on Ocean City’s beaches.

“Alcohol does not belong on the beach with our families, and we are family-friendly. I think we need to step up our efforts because the beach patrol shouldn’t have to be out there watching for alcohol, they should be watching the people in the water,” he said.

Council President Lloyd Martin pointed out Ocean City has signage prohibiting alcohol at the dune crossing and on the beach but agreed any kind of extra effort to promote alcohol-free areas wouldn’t hurt.

Mayor Rick Meehan said the State Highway Administration’s Walk Smart Campaign that serves as a reminder for pedestrians to cross at marked sidewalks has been successful in educating the public and pedestrian accidents are at a low this summer compared to last year.

“We can’t stop everybody from walking across the street when they are not supposed to but it has stopped  a lot of them,” the mayor said, suggesting such a campaign would not stop people from drinking alcohol on the beach completely but would remind the public of the town’s ordinance outlawing it.

Meehan suggested passing the concept onto Ocean City Communication Manager Jessica Waters who has access to different communication outlets, such as the town’s reader boards on the Boardwalk and crawl messages that run across the television.

Ashley made a motion to forward the idea to post friendly reminders to the public that alcohol is illegal on the beaches in Ocean City and have her report back to the Mayor and Council in ways to do so.

“It is just not on the beach, they are taking it to the sidewalks too,” Councilwoman Margaret Pillas said. “I would like to see a banner when you come into town stating a zero-alcohol tolerance policy on our streets and beaches.”

The council voted 6-0, with Council Secretary Mary Knight absent, to move forward with an alcohol-free zone campaign of sorts.

8 comments on “NEW FOR WEDNESDAY: Councilman Seeks Crackdown On Beach Drinking

  1. WHAT A JOKE!!! ALCOHOL FREE AND FAMILY FRIENDLY! THIS TOWN EXISTS ON THE BACKS OF ALL THE OUTLETS, ON AND OFF SALE, THAT PROMOTE DRINKING. MAKE 49TH TO 60TH STREET AN ALCOHOL FREE ZONE!! THEN YOU WILL START TO HAVE PEOPLE BELIEVING IN FAMILY FRIENDLY.

  2. Manage it please rather make it your political wedge. People drink on the bus all the time and everyone seems to survive in addition to you. We know when you board our buses.

  3. I too welcome addressing concerns and starting a smart/thoughtful discussion ~ but must remind all that Rome was not built in one day.

    In other words it is nice to say that the City needs this (baggy pants removal), that (no ciggy butts), the other thing (crosswalk enforcement) and a new thing on the agenda (enforcement of no spirits on the beach). Must keep in mind if spirits on the beach is a no no, then places like Castle in the Sands can no longer offer spirits on the beach.

    Then the R word must be discussed. R meaning the necessary resource to support such enforcement. Less than 1 month left in our Endless Summer of 2013….should make for a very interesting off season for sure!

    Someone is gonna catch a huge White Marlin in the next 2 days…out to watch the boats in the morning so nite nite.

    ~BUSHMAN!~

  4. I have been a beach lover for 40 yrs. Times have changed. I see alcohol all the time sitting on the beach. From a group of people, to families drinking. Lifeguards have a big enough job watching swimmers. They have no time to babysit people drinking. Have cadets in swimsuits with a radio walk the beach. Then call in to have these people removed. I go on the beach @ 10am and some have already been drinking. I enjoy a drink or 3 myself, however not on a family oriented beach. They get rowdy, guts from a bottle, and act stupid.Leave lifeguards out of the issue. They have a hard enough job. My utmost respect to lifeguards. I thought my mom had eyes in the back of her head, the guards have her beat
    They have eyes everywhere. And a great job they are doing!

  5. Brent Ashley should just dress up like a Quaker and pose in front of a lifeguard stand and be the town’s mascot for the next Ocean City advertising campaign. It will do several things: It will get rid of Rodney, which Mr. Ashley so desperately wants to do, and it will give Mr. Ashley tons of exposure, which he is undoubtedly dying for, and at the same time, nothing scares away thugs quicker than Quakers, right Brent?!!! Hey, and don’t forget the high waisted pants Mr. Ashley!!! You are doing an amazing job at making our town look like a bunch of small minded buffoons just so you can keep your name in the paper on a consistent basis.

  6. If Ocean City is so perfect, why can’t it even offer a smoke free environment to its employees? Why aren’t public places like Transit Centers smoke free? Town employees, even supervisors, force us to exhale their second hand smoke as they puff away at the doors to their facilities and buses.

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