Worcester Eyes Stiff Penalty For Boat Slip Violators

SNOW HILL — Loaning your boat slip to a friend in Worcester County just became riskier, due to the County Commissioners approving a new penalty for license holders who allow unauthorized boats to occupy their slip.

“We need to do something to grab their attention,” said County Attorney Sonny Bloxom.

Bloxom proposed a two- or three-year ban on a license holder if they are found in violation of allowing unauthorized craft in their slip. According to Bloxom, without a tough penalty in place, the county is often being ignored when they attempt to enforce the rules.

“We have problems getting them to comply or even responding to us,” he wrote in a letter to the commission. “We have had to use the Sheriff’s Department upon occasion to try to get compliance.”

Besides being ignored by the boat owners illegally using a slip licensed to someone else, Bloxom noted that the license holders themselves could become elusive when the county comes calling.

“They disappear and we can’t get a hold of them,” he told the commission.

Under the current code, Bloxom emphasized that the county’s only real option for combating slip abuse is to go straight to criminal charges, a power that is rarely exercised.
“Short of filing trespass charges against the offending boats,” he wrote, “we have very few options we can use to force compliance.”

The main concern when a slip is used illegally, continued Bloxom, is the question of liability in case of accident.

“We are especially concerned about unauthorized boats using the slips,” he wrote, “and not having the proper insurance in case of a sinking or fire.”

Bloxom added at this week’s, “You see the liability that’s out there.”

The commissioners unanimously supported the idea of stricter penalties for violators of slip license agreements, but were in favor of only a two-year ban as opposed to a three-year ban. Several, including Commissioner Louise Gulyas and Judy Boggs, expressed worry over how drastic a two-year automatic ban would be.

Bloxom advised adding a clause into the new law that would allow violators who believe they have justifiable or mitigating circumstances for violating their license to appear before the commission in person to request “mercy,” allowing them the potential to get the two-year ban waived or at least reduced.

4 comments on “Worcester Eyes Stiff Penalty For Boat Slip Violators

  1. It was only 3 weeks ago that the state was attempting to pass a bill that would ADD a sales tax to: tax prep, property management, vehicles, commercial cleaning, cell phones, cable television, security systems, a parking facility, barber or beauty expense, sign painting, interior decorating and extermination. Pretty much other services we use that aren’t taxed. Why? To generate additional revenue.

    Right on time, Worchester looked at their books and said “…hmmm, what can we do to generate additional revenue?” (first thing you can do silly is to CUT SPENDING!) Someone piped in – hey there are XXXX amount of boat slips in Worchester (i.e., $$$$ Ocean City $$$$) we can go after boat slip owners who have unauthorized boats in those slips! Within Ocean City limits and HOA rules, I’m not sure boat slips are fully classified as “personal property” (haven’t brushed up on my OC and HOA rules in some time and they change more than I can snap my fingers) but OC could be a cashcow if and ONLY IF Worchester had the resources to find violators. Hmmmm, something tells me Worchester doesn’t want to go down that road either!

    Just another beautiful sunny Friday in OC, sure can’t wait until that Super Wally Mart opens 4/11/12! ~BUSHMAN!

  2. are they nuts, check the water, put down the pipe. your telling the owner of personal property that he can’t do what they want with their property. What’s next you can’t allow someone to use your automobile. How about your house, can you let someone stay there or is that against the law. Tell Bloxom they’ll be able to find the owner when the charred hull or water filled vessel is lying on the sea bottom. why not just immediately confiscate the boat, have an immediate auction and pocket the money. Wait, that’s caught theft!!

  3. i my self might be accused of such thing but now i have a legal slip and operate out of the harbor in west oc. this is a problem but i dont think the person who signs on for the two year agreement with the county is liable you have to understand that some of these fishermen travel out of the states and are hard to get a hold of……………..

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