OCEAN CITY — A downtown Ocean City watersports rental company and its owner charged last year with numerous violations following the death of a nine-year-old boy who fell from a rented pontoon boat pleaded guilty this week and paid $320 in fines.
Following an investigation into a tragic incident last August when a boy fell from the bow of a rented pontoon boat and was fatally struck by the vessel’s propeller, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) applied for charges in District Court in Worcester County against OC Watersports LLC and owner Tyler Barnes, who operated the watercraft rental operation near the base of the Route 50 Bridge at Talbot Street. The NRP’s application for charges was reviewed by a Worcester County District Court commissioner, who determined probable cause existed for the five charges.
Shortly before 3 p.m. last Aug. 17, the U.S. Coast Guard and NRP officers responded to a reported accident involving a rented pontoon boat in the Sinepuxent Bay behind Ocean City. The nine-year-old victim, who was riding on the vessel’s bow, fell overboard and was struck by the boat’s propeller and was seriously injured. The child later succumbed to injuries sustained from the propeller strike.