(Editor’s Note: The following is a series on the men and women who have spent their summers protecting all those who came to Ocean City for fun and safe vacation.)
OCEAN CITY — Dorie Murphy never expected to be a member of the Ocean City Beach Patrol. She had spent the summer of 1992 guarding the open beaches at Assateague State Park and despite the closeness to Ocean City, she never intended to switch.
But a chance meeting on Memorial Day weekend of 1993 with two officers from the beach patrol convinced her to give it a try. The next morning she showed up at the tryouts, dove into the 53 degree water and became the only female to finish that day.
Murphy was assigned to the crowded beaches between 9th and 12th streets, where the rock jetties were particularly treacherous. On heavy surf days, the rescues were constant.
“We would go around and around pulling one person out, assuring they were ok, heading back over the dry end of the rocks and out again,” she recalled.
She and her fellow beach patrol roommates would keep track of their rescues on “a notes board on our fridge where we wrote our number of rescues and other statistics each day. I think 23 in one day was my record that summer.”
Murphy remembers the summers were filled with fun and adventure and the bonds she formed were truly special.
“My experience on OCBP shaped my career and at times when things were rough I remember how tired I was on those days when I pulled multiple people out of the ocean and told myself if I was strong enough to do that I can handle this, whatever it has been,” she said.
After the 1994 season ended, Murphy headed to San Diego with a few other guards and stayed there for years in “many water safety related jobs before joining the US Army Corps of Engineers.”
She is now back in Maryland serving as the Chief of Emergency Management for the Baltimore District and is happy that she can bring her daughter back to see the Ocean City she loves.