OCEAN CITY- The grand spectacle of offshore powerboat racing will return to Ocean City in September after resort officials approved the event this week.
On Monday, the Mayor and Council approved the Ocean City Grand Prix powerboat races scheduled for September 29. The Ocean City Grand Prix is part of the larger Offshore Powerboat Association (OPA) summer-long series of events all over the country. Locally, the event is produced by the Bull on the Beach, which has powerboats competing in the summer series and has produced offshore powerboat racing in Ocean City off and on for years.
The grand prix in September is actually a three-day event with a festival of sorts including meet-and-greets with the professional racers, powerboat tours, parties and other activities starting Friday, September 27. The real action gets underway on Sunday, September 29, however, with two scheduled races in the open ocean just off the resort coast. The course is laid out between North Division Street and 20th Street with a start-finish line between 2nd and 3rd Streets.
The first race is tentatively scheduled to begin at noon, with a second race set for roughly 2 p.m. As estimated 15-20 powerboats will compete in each race. For safety purposes, no swimming will be allowed in the event’s footprint during each race. The Ocean City Beach Patrol will be involved in an advisory capacity, but because it is not officially on duty any more by that weekend, the beach patrol will not be able to close the beach in the race area.
As a result, the town of Ocean City has requested the promoters post signs on the beach in the race footprint area with the message “water and beach activity is restricted beyond this point.” In addition, because the event is taking place after the OCBP is off duty, the promoter must employ security staff during the event to keep out of the ocean during the races. The signage and security staff requirements were conditions of the Mayor and Council’s approval on Monday.