OCEAN CITY — By mid-week, the steady hum of traffic noise, backups, burnouts and other nuisances related to the arrival of the annual H2O International Car Show had already accelerated, prompting Ocean City police to issue a welcome and a warning.
The annual H2O International (H2Oi) event is one local law enforcement officials and residents circle on their calendars each fall and this year is no different. In years past, the event has been associated with heavy traffic, numerous incidents and violations and in some cases, wanton disregard for the town’s ordinances. The official event is essentially a car show featuring tricked-out Volkswagens and Audis, but like most vehicle-related special events, an in-kind number of unregistered hangers on cause trouble.
To his credit, event organizer Jay Shoup in recent years has issued strong reminders to participants to behave while in the resort area, but his message often falls on deaf ears for those not formally part of the annual event. The H2Oi event is headquartered at Fort Whaley along Route 50 in Whaleyville, but like most vehicle-related special events, there is an in-kind number or often larger number of participants who do not take part in the car show.
Before OC BikeFest two weeks ago, Ocean City police reported the department had reached an agreement with a handful of allied law enforcement agencies in the area to provide an additional police presence in the resort during the event and the same will hold true this weekend during the H2Oi event.
“We will have assistance from allied agencies again this weekend in preparation for the H2O International event,” said OCPD spokesperson Lindsay Richard this week. “Citizens can expect to see a significant number of our officers out working, many of whom will be focusing on traffic violations and peace and good order issues. Our highest priority is to keep our residents and visitors safe, in addition to ensuring a positive quality of life by using friendly, fair and firm enforcement.”
By mid-week, OCPD Chief Ross Buzzuro had issued his own statement, welcoming event participants, but urging them to behave and respect Ocean City’s laws and ordinances.
“We are optimistic that the majority of the citizens that are planning to visit Ocean City will be here to enjoy everything our town has to offer,” he said. “Those that choose to disrespect our town and our laws can expect swift and firm enforcement.”
Buzzuro said the OCPD and its allied law enforcement agencies would show little tolerance for some of the behavior observed in the past.
“We invite you to enjoy our beautiful city with the expectation that you do so safely and respectfully while abiding by our laws and local ordinances. Due to the increased number of visitors that we are anticipating during this event, you should expect to see a large police presence during your stay,” the chief said.
The OCPD this week issued a reminder of the common violations expected to be enforced with rigor during the H2Oi event and other special events. For example, a common violation is disorderly conduct, or willfully acting in a manner that disturbs the public peace. Another violation frequently observed and enforced during the vehicle-related special events is inciting or encouraging others to commit a crime.
The OCPD is reminding visitors they are not allowed to request, encourage or direct another to break the law including burnouts, reckless driving or disorderly conduct. In addition, the OCPD is reminding visitors blocking public roadways and sidewalks is prohibited. Citizens may not sit along sidewalks or congregate in the roadway in a manner to prevent others from easily passing. The OCPD will also strictly enforce other traffic violations including speeding and aggressive driving.
“Traffic delays are expected along Coastal Highway throughout the weekend,” the chief’s statement reads. “Speeding and aggressive driving can quickly lead to other serious motor vehicle collisions, which is why our officers take this behavior very seriously.”
The OCPD statement also reminds visitors spinning tires and burnouts are strictly prohibited as a driver can easily lose control of a vehicle during a burnout. Of course, it goes without saying driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be tolerated by the OCPD.
The OCPD statement also outlines the laws regarding excessive noise. For example, the town’s noise ordinance states, “it is unlawful for any person to make, cause or continue any loud, unnecessary, unnatural or unusual noise, or any noise that annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace and safety of others at any time, day or night.”
In addition, no disruptive noises will be allowed from midnight to 7 a.m. in such as manner as to be heard at a distance of 50 feet from the building or structure from which it originates, including loud noise from a vehicle.