OCEAN CITY — Nearly 200 members of the Ocean City Beach Patrol (OCBP) will gather on Saturday, July 30, to compete in the annual intra-squad competitions between the division’s various crews. The event takes place on the beach at North Division Street beginning at 6:30 p.m. and will host 18 crews of guards from the OCBP.
“Our annual crew competition has great spectator appeal and visitors to Ocean City are encouraged to come out and support the lifeguards from their beach,” said OCBP Captain Butch Arbin. “It is a high-energy lifesaving exhibition and competition that our residents and visitors look forward to each year. Even many of our local businesses support the crews from their area by providing banners, uniforms, and food to show their appreciation for the work our lifeguards do every day by keeping their patrons safe.”
With employees dressing up in a crew “theme” for the competitions, citizens are encouraged to come out and cheer on their favorite guards, as they demonstrate their athletic skills in the following events: run swim run relay, a team of guards from the same crew will combine their most basic lifesaving skills of running and swimming as they handoff a rescue buoy; land line, a team of guards from the same crew will rescue a swimmer in distress by swimming out a 150 meter line and then be pulled to shore with the “victim” by other members of the crew; paddle board relay, a team of guards from the same crew will paddle out 150 meter on an 11-foot rescue board and return to shore before handing it off to the next waiting crew member; soft sand relay, a team of guards from the same crew will each sprint 150 meters before handing off a rubber relay baton, in this pure running race, in soft-sand; and tug of war, a team of guards from the same crew will pull against other crews drawn randomly in this double elimination event that emphasizes strength and endurance.
“This competition has been taking place since 1976,” Arbin said. “It is a special event and a great way to spend an evening with family or friends, while also supporting Ocean City’s lifeguards. It has become a tradition that not only do the Beach Patrol’s Surf Rescue Technicians enjoy but an event that many of our residents and visitors look forward to as well.”
The crew competition was renamed in honor of Lt. Warren Williams following his untimely death in May 2003. Warren served admirably for over 40 years, beginning in 1963, when he came to the patrol as a college student. Williams held the rank of lieutenant at the time of his passing and will be remembered by those who worked with him as one who always had the welfare of others as his priority and was always willing to do anything for the betterment of the patrol and Ocean City.