New Year’s Plunge in the Atlantic at Ocean City, Md

Posted on December 31, 2008

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If you’re going to be in Ocean City, Maryland, for the New Year’s holiday, and lots of people are, I’ve got news for you. If you’re looking for excitement and crowds (and lots of people are), you’re in the right place. There are plenty of restaurants, night spots, and bars if you want to party. The local MSM (i.e., the weekly newspapers) are filled with ads for New Year’s Eve. You choose. Please don’t drink and drive.

If you’re looking for a wild and crazy time on New Year’s Day, there’s the 15th Annual Penguin Swim, in which people celebrate the New Year by plunging into the Atlantic Ocean. Do sane people really do this? Yes, they really do. And lots of spectators also turn out.

Is this some kind of exotic shock therapy for hangovers? I don’t think so. Personally, I don’t recommend New Year’s Day as a good time for an Atlantic swim. However, the Penguin Swim motto is, “Get wet for a good cause!” The Penguin Swim is a fund-raiser for the Atlantic General Hospital Foundation ($67,000 raised last year). Bull on the Beach and the Princess Royale are two of the event’s main sponsors.

The Penguin Swim will take place on the Ocean City beach at the Princess Royale, 91st Street and the Atlantic Ocean. The plunge is at 1 p.m., registration is at noon. You may register to participate as an individual or a team. A donation is requested, but not required. The good news is: You don’t have to participate in the actual ocean plunge to make a donation! Questions, call 410-641-9644, or visit http://penguinswim.atlanticgeneral.org/, where you can sign up online. Awards ceremony to follow in the Princess Royale atrium.

Q: Will you be taking the plunge?

A: Who, me? No I’ll wait until June, or at least May.

Q: Is there any amount of money that would make you jump into the Atlantic on New Year’s Day?

A: This is a hypothetical question, right?

Q: Suppose someone offered you $1 million to plunge into the Atlantic on New Year’s Day?

A: For $1 million, I would consider it. Will they have ambulances standing by?

It’s been downright balmy here in Ocean City, these last four days. Mostly sunshine, light winds, quite a few people walking the boardwalk. You want proof?

People enjoying the holiday week on the Ocean City Boardwalk, looking north from North Division Street.

BALMY DAY: People enjoying the holiday week on the Ocean City Boardwalk, looking north from North Division Street.

It's a nice, comfortable, sunny day, but these people are all wearing coats!

PEOPLE ARE HERE: Folks walking the Ocean City boardwalk at the south end. Take Note: It's a nice, comfortable, sunny day, but these people are all wearing coats!

Today, the last day of 2008, it’s bright sunshine in Ocean City, but we have blustery winds, 35-50 mph, and a wind warning in effect. Today’s Ocean City forecast is for a high temperature of 51 degrees, falling into the 20s tonight. The forecast for New Year’s Day in Ocean city is sunny, 20-30 mph winds, and a high of 38, but I’m hoping we hit the low 40s.

And what is the water temperature in the Atlantic surf? I will look into that. — Bernie Hayden

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