OCEAN CITY SURF BEACHES
The Mayor and City Council of the Town of Ocean City have designated specific areas of our ten-mile beach to be one day “surfing areas”, or what we commonly refer to as rotating “surf beaches”. The Ocean City Beach Patrol is responsible for developing a rotating schedule for these beaches, on a three-year schedule.
Our goal, when putting this schedule together is to provide maximum access to surfers, while having minimum impact on property owners, swimmers and visitors. The Mayor and Council then must approve, or disapprove the proposed, rotating schedule. . Under the current schedule, we have two rotating beaches reserved for surfing only. One is located in the north half of the town and rotates between 146th and 67th streets, with a second south surf beach that rotates between 66th and Caroline street. There is also a permanent surfing beach located at the extreme south end of Ocean City at the Inlet. The north and south surf beaches are almost five miles apart, and each moves two city blocks to the south from one day to the next. The Inlet surf beach is open on weekdays, except for holidays. The surf beaches are in effect between 10:00 – 5:30 (Guarding hours) from May 1 to September 30 from the Inlet to 27th Street, and from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend to September 30th for all other beaches in Ocean City.
Once the Beach Patrol’s proposed schedule is approved, the Beach Patrol has the responsibility of marking the surf beaches every day with clearly visible signs, banners and yellow beach stands that look like smaller versions of our lifeguard chairs. These surf beaches are staffed by Surf Beach Facilitators who have specialized roles and responsibility’s that are different from those of our Surf Rescue Technicians (Lifeguards). These Surf Beach Facilitators are responsible for enforcing ordinances specific to the surf beaches, as well as any other ordinances that apply to all of our beaches. These members of the Beach Patrol are trained in Surf Beach Management, CPR, First Aid, Spinal Injury Management, Radio Communications, Sand Hole collapse Rescue and many other skills, but they are not lifeguards. They, like our SRTs are responsible for ensuring that all of our residents and visitors are safe.
Please follow the commonly accepted rules of surfing. Don’t drop in!
Please listen to the Surf Beach Facilitators and Surf Rescue Technicians and ask them any questions that you have about the surf beaches.
Always wear a leash.
Stay within the areas marked by the yellow stands.
Only one person per surfboard.
No one except surfers on surfboards may be in the water on a designated surfing beach.
No other activities except surfing are allowed in the designated surfing area.
What does “Surfing Modification” mean?
When weather conditions or beach/swimmer population allows the Beach Patrol to “modify” surfing restrictions, we will try to give surfers as much access to the ocean as we feel we can safely manage. With input from supervisors along all 10 miles of Ocean City that conditions are conducive to allow surfing between 10:00 – 5:30, the Beach Patrol Captain, or officer-in-charge may lift surfing restrictions and allow surfing outside of the scheduled areas for the day. However, if conditions change and the swimming population increases, the surfing restrictions will go back into effect.
The City Code states: “It shall be lawful to utilize and ride a surfboard during periods of inclement weather upon the express direction of the captain of the beach patrol, provided they remain 50 yards from all non-surfers and use some means, such as an ankle leash, to attach some part of their body to said surfboard.”