(June 16, 2014) – Ocean City welcomed a prominent guest this week, as the leader of Rio de Janeiro’s 1,500 member Beach Patrol made his way from the beautiful beaches of Brazil to the quaint eastern shore of Maryland. At Monday night’s Mayor and City Council meeting, Coronel Jose Maria de Andrade, who will spend the week in Ocean City observing, learning and training with the Ocean City Beach Patrol, was presented with a key to the city.
Coronel Andrade arrived in Ocean City on Sunday, June 15, just in time to participate in day one of the Ocean City Beach Patrol’s final 2014 Surf Rescue Academy. Participating alongside 41 rookie Surf Rescue Technicians, Coronel Andrade will be learning all aspects of surf lifesaving. In addition, part of his time in Ocean City will include aspects of the Beach Patrol’s organizational structure, including the command structure, training, equipment, evaluations and interactions with other town departments and public safety agencies.
“We are thrilled to host Coronel Andrade and feel extremely privileged to use our training and knowledge to improve safety on the beaches of Brazil,” commented Ocean City Emergency Services Director Joseph Theobald. “Our Beach Patrol has assisted in establishing beach patrols in South Padre Island, Texas and has provided technical assistance and guidance to many other surf lifesaving agencies around the world and throughout the United States. We are extremely honored to begin this partnership with Coronel Andrade and the Rio de Janeiro Beach Patrol.”
The partnership between the Ocean City Beach Patrol and the Rio de Janeiro Beach Patrol was proposed last winter when OCBP alumni Mark McCleskey learned that an average of 7,148 people drown each year in Brazil, equaling nearly 179,300 deaths over the past 25 years. Knowing that drowning is one of the most preventable causes of accidental death, McCleskey believed that a partnership between the two beach patrols would result in an essential exchange of information from the Maryland coast and the beaches of Brazil.
McCleskey, who currently lives in Annapolis, facilitated and financed the visit with his Brazilian business partner, Octavio Rezende Filho. “We certainly must thank Mr. McCleskey and Mr. Rezende for their passion and desire to make a difference in water safety and surf lifesaving,” Theobald continued. “We are hopeful that the information and training Coronel Andrade receives in Ocean City can be implemented in Rio de Janeiro to improve water safety and save lives.”