OCEAN CITY — Just a week after the dilapidated “New Hope,” a fixture on the West Ocean City commercial harbor landscape for years, was dismantled, much of its steel and salvageable material found its new home on the ocean floor at the Bob Gower Artificial Reef site this week.
Last week, Captain Jeremiah Kogon and the crew on the MV Iron Lady meticulously dismantled the old New Hope, a 70-foot commercial vessel scuttled for years along the bulkhead at the commercial harbor in West Ocean City. Most of the sinking vessel, which had been half-submerged at the harbor for several years, was not salvageable and was ultimately hauled to the landfill, but much of its steel superstructure was stacked neatly on the deck of the MV Iron Lady for future deployment on the Bob Gower Artificial Reef site just miles off the coast of the resort.
With clear weather and calm seas this week, the MV Iron Lady, with the assistance of the Ocean City Artificial Reef Foundation and the Morning Star with Captain Monty Hawkins, began methodically dropping the tons of steel and other material on the Bob Gower reef site, named for the late, beloved captain who trolled the waters around the resort area for decades before his passage in 2011.
The latest contribution to the Bob Gower Reef will exponentially grow the site dedicated to the late captain and, in time, will encrust with coral and barnacles and become an important addition to the growing artificial reef system off the coast of Ocean City. During the last 17 years, the Ocean City Reef Foundation has submerged tons of material, from old boats to retired military equipment to discarded construction materials, to create a vast artificial reef network off the coast. The artificial reefs have enhanced habitat for fish and other sea creatures up and down the food chain.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) contracted Murtech Marine out of Salisbury to dismantle and remove the old New Hope, which had steadily deteriorated from years of neglect and had increasingly become a navigation hazard in and around the harbor. Murtech sent Kogon and the MV Iron Lady crew to dismantle the New Hope last week and by mid-week, the crew was depositing the salvageable material on the Bob Gower Reef, with a project deemed a win-win for everybody.
The portion with the boat’s name New Hope was also salvaged during the dismantling of the sinking vessel and will be auctioned off at the next Ocean City Reef Foundation dinner with the proceeds dedicated to building even more reefs off the coast of the resort.