Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ocean City Races to be Closer to Beach

In response to comments that last year's race were a little difficult to see, the organizers of the 2009 Geico Triple Crown Offshore Races in Ocean city are moving a section of the course about 200 yards closer to beach. As a result, the United States Coast Guard has taken on the responsibility of keeping swimmers out of the water during the event, which is set for May 30-31.

PHOTO CREDIT: Amsoil Racing Team

Last year's race brought huge crowds to watch the the boats tear their way through a course that was approximately 880 yards offshore. But many of the spectators complained that the boats were too far away to be seen. This year, race organizers will be moving the southern section of the course about 200 yards closer to the beach, which should help.

"People just can't see it that far offshore," organizer Ed Smith told the Ocean City Council on Monday. "Even the TV stations have to bring in monster cameras." In terms of length, the course runs approximately from Sixth Street to 34th Street, but the portion that will be moved in closer to shore runs from Sixth Street to 22nd Street, where the racers will be making a turn.


The Boardwalk Development Association and the Hotel-Motel- Restaurant Association and Boardwalk merchants in that area were very supportive of the move, which should benefit the thousands of people who turn out each year to enjoy the race. With the boats coming that close to shore, the organizers had asked the council to close the water off completely during the race, in case of an emergency, but City Solicitor Guy Ayres explained that the council does not have this authority. The Coast Guard does have this authority, however--and will be taking steps to ensure that swimmers do not go into the water during the race.

"I can't imagine there would be many people in the water that time of year anyway," Council President Joe Mitrecic said of the May event. Ocean City Beach Patrol Lt. Ward Kovacs said that lifeguards would also be on hand to keep swimmers out of the water and alert beach visitors to any possible dangers, should a boat lose control and come ashore. Don't's happened before!

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