Maryland Governor Larry Hogan joined Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton and Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan today to officially open the public 64th Street Boat Ramp. This free facility, located at the base of the water tower, is operational 24/7, 365-days a year with access to and from Assawoman Bay.
“The boating industry is incredibly important to our state; it supports thousands of jobs and contributes $2 billion to our state economy,” said Governor Hogan. “We are committed to doing everything we can to expand opportunities for Marylanders and visitors to appreciate all that the coastal bays, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean have to offer, and I know that this new 64th Street ramp will provide even more Marylanders with the chance to make memories here in Ocean City, and out on the water.”
The joint state and local project was completed before the start of the 2017 boating season through a partnership between the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Town of Ocean City. The department’s Waterway Improvement Fund provided 50 percent grant funding for construction of the parking area, and a 100 percent grant for dredging. An additional $200,000 will help extend the channel from 64th Street into Assawoman Bay.
“The Town of Ocean City was a great partner in this project that seeks to serve residents and tourists alike,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “The Waterway Improvement Fund is a vital state resource that ensures that the public will continue to benefit from Maryland’s world-class recreational boating facilities for years to come. It is wonderful to see a project through to its completion.”
The Waterway Improvement Fund was established to finance projects and activities that develop, maintain or promote Maryland’s boating infrastructure and waterways. It is primarily derived from a five-percent vessel excise tax on boat purchases and titling. Since its creation in 1966, the fund has provided more than $300 million toward over 4,500 projects at more than 400 boating facilities across the state. Maryland was the first state on the East Coast to create a dedicated fund to develop and improve boating and navigation improvements.
Between FY08-18, the Town of Ocean City has been awarded $1,165,000 through the Waterway Improvement Fund. The new boat ramp at 64th Street seeks to replace the town’s only other existing public access boat ramp in Little Salisbury.
“This project is a great example of partnership between the Town of Ocean City and the State of Maryland, specifically the Department of Natural Resources,” Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said. “With funding from both local and state entities, we were able to provide a first-class amenity to our residents and visitors that allows them to enjoy the natural beauty of Maryland’s coastal bays.”
Maryland has a rich maritime culture and history, both on fresh- and saltwater, and a strong constituency of commercial and recreational boaters, who love to cruise, fish or swim in our vast network of waterways. Over 200,000 vessels are registered in the state, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.