Lifeguarding A Family Affair For 6 Cousins

Lifeguarding A Family Affair For 6 Cousins

OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Beach Patrol (OCBP) has brought six Stang family cousins together in the resort this summer, and they are looking to continue to work together for seasons to come.

The oldest out of the group is Colin, 21, and he and his sister, Shelby, 19, are from Columbia, Md. Kevin, 21, and his sister, Emily, 19, are from Allentown, Pa., and Jack and his sister, Addie, 18, are from Dover, Del. They are six out of 14 cousins spread out among three Stang families.

Each one of them recall coming to Ocean City since they were born staying at their grandparents apartment on 84th Street. Kevin recalls the Stang family coming together, 27 people in all, staying in the two-bedroom apartment to enjoy summers and holidays in Ocean City.

“I have been coming to Ocean City, Md. since I was about 6 months old on vacation. I’ve always loved the town and loved the beach … we only went on a few other family vacations besides Ocean City and never had as much fun as here,” he said.

On Labor Day, the Stang family would end the summer by all coming together at the beach to hold a mass where Kevin would join his father and uncles in the family band playing guitar.

“We all go down together on Labor Day as a big family and always have a blast with a lot of games,” Shelby said.

In 2010, the three older boys graduated from high school and all decided to come to Ocean City to all try out for OCBP together. They all surpassed expectations and finished in the top 20 finalists out of 50 who tried out.

“I joined the OCBP because I wanted to live and work at the beach, and this was the best option to do both. I think I can speak for all of us and say we love this job because of the satisfaction it brings us,” Colin said.

However, Kevin turned down the first year working for the OCBP and pursued swimming at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) but he returned to the beach patrol the next summer and has been serving as an Ocean City lifeguard for the past two years.

Colin and Jack are in their third year with the OCBP. All three serve as Surf Rescue Technicians (SRT). Their primary duties are making rescues, first aid, CPR, educating the public on potential hazards and maintaining overall safety on the beach by enforcing ordinances.

After noticing how much fun the boys were having serving on OCBP, the girls, Shelby, Emily and Addie, couldn’t help but want to get in on the action. This is their first year on the OCBP also serving as SRTs.

“I joined OCBP after hearing the wonderful stories from the boys about their experience on OCBP,” Addie said.

Emily didn’t need much convincing since she has always wanted be a lifeguard in Ocean City since a young age.  

“I really ended up joining after my brother and two cousins joined. They told me how great of a job it really is,” she said.

All six of the Stang cousins participate in lifeguard competitions near and far.

“Jack, Kevin and I attend all the local ocean series competitions, but next week we will be representing Ocean City at the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) lifeguard nationals, being held in Manhattan Beach, Calif. We will compete in swimming and running events,” Colin said.

Shelby, Emily and Addie just returned from a competition in Sandy Hook, N.J., on Wednesday where the local patrol placed fifth.

Somehow the Stang cousins find the time to participate in other activities throughout town. Colin recently completed the nine-mile Swim OC event to benefit John Hopkins Outpatient Neuro Rehabilitation Program. Kevin is a member of the OCBP Scuba Diving Team and has also recently took third place in BJ’s on the Water’s canoe races. He also plays floor hockey at Northside Park.

The Stang cousins all live on 36th Street next door to one another, the girls in one house and the guys in the other.

“Having the girls right next door is really great and I’m glad I get to see them so much. We are all extremely close and always having been our entire lives. I feel like my cousins are my brothers and sisters and sometimes just refer to them as such. It has been and always will be this way,” Kevin said.

Emily added their parents and grandparents have always made a point to keep the Stangs a close knit family and living together has only made them closer.

“It works pretty well,” Addie said of living with her cousins. “We all get to spend a lot of time together which is always fun … we have always been close growing up but living in three different states we only saw each other a couple times a year. This summer we are able to spend so much more time together which has just brought us closer.”

Colin is entering into his senior year at the University of Maryland where he studies economics.

“What I like most about Ocean City are all the friends I have made the past three summers, and all the good memories I’ve made,” he said. “My future with the OCBP is undetermined. However, I plan to be here for at least one more summer. I have one year left of college and plan to start the job search this school year.”

Kevin’s future plans are to graduate from UMBC and intends to earn an EMT degree. He has thought about heading to California where he could lifeguard full-time or go to graduate school in Baltimore and live with Colin where he could coach swimming.

“I plan to work with OCBP as long as I can,” he said. “There is always something going on and I have made some incredible friends on beach patrol who I never would have met without this city [Ocean City]. Never a dull moment at the beach.”

Shelby is entering into her sophomore year at the University of Rhode Island, and plans on serving on the OCPB until she figures out her next step in her career.

Emily attends school and swims at West Chester University in Pennsylvania where she studies nutrition.

Addie’s future plans are to attend Elizabethtown College and major in occupational therapy.