January 22, 2014
WEST OCEAN CITY — A persistent sandbar at the entrance to the West Ocean City commercial fishing harbor is causing problems for incoming fishing boats, meaning additional dredging may be needed to improve maritime traffic.
John Martin, of Martin Fish Co., said the sandbar between buoys 11 and 12 has been keeping 80-foot fishing trawlers from getting into the harbor with their daily catch. The boats only can get in when it’s high tide, and even then, Martin said, they’re scraping the bottom. That’s because the harbor is 10 feet deep, and his boats have a 12-foot draft.
Martin wants to see the harbor dredged to a depth of 14 feet to ensure that larger vessels are able to clear the harbor bottom safely.
“That particular spot just humps up, and it’s always been a little bit of a shallow spot for years, but it’s been bad for the last five, six years,” he said. “If the boat can’t come in and unload, or he’s afraid it’s going to tear the bottom of his boat up, it’s a problem. I don’t know how to put a number on it, because prices change and quotas change. We’re the only oceanside port in Maryland we can’t afford to lose anything.”