OCEAN CITY — With little further discussion, resort officials voted last week to formalize changes to the hours of the public boat ramp in Little Salisbury to allow for early morning or evening boating.
The public boat ramp in the north-end Little Salisbury community for years was the only public boat ramp in city limits and it was used extensively. In 2017, the town opened a new, larger public boat ramp at 64th Street near the public works campus. That two-ramp facility is open 24 hours per day, 365 days a year.
When the new public boat ramp opened in 2017, it was decided to keep the existing public boat ramp in Little Salisbury open on a limited basis with an automated gate system. Boaters from the community, or anywhere else really, can purchase a seasonal pass for $50 allowing them to access the gated ramp, which is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day from April to October.
In August, Council President Matt James broached the subject of extending the hours at the public boat ramp on Caribbean Drive to allow ease of access and more time on the water for local boaters restrained by work hours and other limitations. He said at the time many local residents work during the day and by the time they get off in the evening, with still plenty hours of daylight remaining, the Little Salisbury ramp has already closed for the day under the current hours.
In August, the council agreed to extend the hours at the Caribbean Drive boat ramp from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on a test basis to see if any problems arose or any complaints from the neighborhood came forward. On Tuesday, Aug. 30, roughly one month after that interim measure went into effect, City Manager Terry McGean returned with a proposal to formalize the 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. hours for the public boat ramp in Little Salisbury.
McGean provided a little background on the evolution of the hours at the Caribbean Drive boat ramp. In 2001, due to complaints about noise and other activities at the ramp, city officials restricted the hours to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. In 2004, due to continued complaints, the hours were reduced to 8 a.m.-8 p.m. In 2005, an attendant was placed at the ramp to monitor activity and to collect a $10 fee to utilize the facility. When the new ramp opened at 64th Street, the Little Salisbury ramp went to a gated system with a $50 seasonal pass and the hours remaining at 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
McGean said with a desire from some in the boating community to extend the hours, the recommendation was now to formalize the 7 a.m.-9 p.m. hours approved on an interim basis.
“There are 82 pass holders, most from the neighborhood,” he said. “It you want to go out for a sunset cruise or a little fishing after work, it was impossible. Ramp hours have been extended since Aug. 1, which has not resulted in any complaints regarding late night or early morning activity at the ramp.”
The council voted unanimously to approve the extended hours.