(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 — It’s been noted the building of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the Bay Bridge Tunnel did for Ocean City in the 20th Century what the railroads had done in the 19th Century — opened the town beyond anyone’s expectations.
By 1965, the resort was surging with new growth and the opportunities for a summer full of employment and adventure to thousands of young people in the area. One young man who heard that call was Charles Dashiell, Jr.
“Chip” Dashiell had grown up just a few miles down the road in Salisbury. Given the closeness of the resort, his family had spent many summers at the beach. During those visits, Dashiell was able to watch the guards and plan for the day when he could do the same thing. “Joining the OCBP was something I had wanted to do for a long time,” he said.
When the summer of 1965 rolled around, he figured since he “was a decent swimmer” it was time to give the OCBP a try.
“After I passed the test, Captain Craig said he had room at his home on St. Louis Avenue for a few guards. My folks liked that idea, so I stayed at the Craig family home for the eight summers I was on the patrol,” he recalled.
The captain came to know that Dashiell was someone who worked hard and proved he could be counted on when things got tough. The young man was studying law at Wake Forest in between his summers on the patrol and was given responsibility over the more crowded beaches each season.
Dashiell remembers, “Captain Craig was an important role model during those years. He taught the importance of individual responsibility and accountability. He set a high standard for all of us, but was always fair.”
Dashiell was promoted to sergeant in 1970 and then to lieutenant in 1971.
“As an officer, I do recall some pretty incredible urgent rides up and down the beach highway in the Chevrolet Blazer and Ford Bronco, particularly on the weekends in heavy beach traffic,” said Dashiell. “It’s hard to imagine how we escaped major accidents in those emergency vehicles, but thankfully we did.”
The days on the OCBP ended for Dashiell when he finished his law degree in 1973 and began his practice with the law firm of Hearne & Bailey, P.A. back in his home town of Salisbury He continued to practice law with that firm until his retirement in December 2018.
“I made a lot of pulls (rescues) over the years, some more remarkable than others,” Dashiell said. “Like most former guards, I never go to the beach where I don’t focus on the rips and look out for swimmers in distress. I will never forget those incredible summers on the Patrol and my fellow guards who became life-long friends.”
Dashiell currently lives in Salisbury with his wife Ruby. They have a place at the beach and come back every summer.