National Award For Public Boat Ramp

WEST OCEAN CITY — After undergoing a major rehabilitation about three years ago, the Worcester County public boat ramp at the commercial harbor in West Ocean City last week earned a national award for providing boating access to the ocean and Maryland’s coastal bays.

The States Organization for Boating Access (SOBA) has honored the West Ocean City harbor’s public boat ramp with its Outstanding Large Project award for 2014. SOBA presented the award to Worcester County and its state and federal partners the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during its annual conference in Little Rock, Ark. Last week.

The public boat ramp at the commercial harbor in West Ocean City underwent a major renovation and rehabilitation in 2011. The completely renovated facility now includes a six-lane boat ramp, two ADA compliant aluminum floating piers and a 73-foot vinyl sheet bulkhead. The county owned and operated facility also includes a 153-spot parking lot.

SOBA recognized the critical makeover of the county boat ramp at the West Ocean City harbor, which was originally constructed in the 1970s and last underwent a significant renovation in 1988, Owned and operated by Worcester County, the boat ramp, which is free to use and open all year round, serves an estimated 100 to 150 boats during the summer and serves as a major launching point for vessels accessing the ocean and coastal bays.

“On behalf of the DNR, congratulations to John Tustin, director of Public Works for Worcester County, for undertaking what is now a nationally recognized boating access project,” said DNR Director of Boating Services Mark O’Malley last week. “Because of his hard work and leadership, this facility will serve boaters for many years to come.”

For his part, Tustin said the county project would not have been possible without the support of Worcester’s state and federal partners.

“Worcester County would like to thank SOBA for this award, but we could not have done it without the support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and DNR,” he said this week. “This project clearly demonstrates that good things can happen when federal, state and local governments work together.”

The total cost of the project was over $580,000 and was supported by the federal Sport Fish Restoration Fund and the state Waterway Improvement Fund. The funding is derived from federal excise taxes on fishing equipment and motorboat fuels, and from a five-percent tax paid when a boat is purchased and titled in Maryland.