A popular form of fishing that is affordable for the average fisherman is on a party boat or “head boat” (so-called because there is a flat charge per angler or “per head.”) These boats provide rods, reels and bait and a mate to untangle lines and help bring fish aboard.
One of the most famous was the “Question Mark,” which sailed from the dock at Wicomico Street beginning in 1951 captained by Gordon S. Patton. The “Question Mark” was formerly Navy PT-139, which had been launched in September 1942 and assigned to the Motor Torpedo Squadron in Mellville, R.I. as part of the Navy’s training squadron.
As a party boat, the 80-foot long craft made two trips daily offshore at a cost of $4 “per head” and an evening cruise along the beachfront at twilight.
The “Question Mark” sank in the West Ocean City harbor in 1973 and now rests offshore in the Atlantic Ocean as part of an artificial reef.
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Postcard from Bunk Mann’s collection