Boats Navigate Ocean City Inlet After Dredging - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Boats Navigate Ocean City Inlet After Dredging

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Currituck dredging vessel in Ocean City Inlet. (Photo: WBOC) Currituck dredging vessel in Ocean City Inlet. (Photo: WBOC)

OCEAN CITY, Md.- For an entire week, the Army Corps of Engineers has been conducting emergency dredging in the Ocean City Inlet. On Friday, WBOC caught up with a commercial fishing boat and crew as they successfully navigated through a previously impassable area of the inlet.

For the crew of the "Instigator," there was a sense of relief as they made it through the inlet.  In particular, the area between buoys 11 and 12 were a real trouble spot for fishermen and that's where a lot of the dredging was focused.  The "Currituck" is a dredging vessel operated by the Army Corps of Engineers that did the dredging this week in Ocean City.  Prior to the emergency work being done, Ocean City fisherman Sonny Gwin said the condition of the inlet was pretty rough.

"Yeah, the shoaling has been worse than I have ever seen it," said Gwin.  "And it has been unfortunate that we've had to unload boats in the town of Ocean City and bring them over here in smaller boats."

Gwin said before the dredging, commercial fishing boats with a full load of fish were unable to make it through the inlet at all. The Currituck arrived in Ocean City on Sunday and has been working nearly around the clock to remove 10,000-cubic-yards of sand.  The sand fills the boats hull and the crew dumps the sand at Assateague.

With the dredging expected to wrap up on Friday, it clears a path for commercial fishermen to comfortably make their way in and out of the inlet.  However, the captain of the Instigator does not believe the conditions will last.

"No, it's a short-term fix," said Capt. Mike Coppa.  "I'm going to give it about a month. This isn't the problem, the problem is there is so much sand in the whole harbor that doing little section - it's going to keep coming back."

Many fishermen tell WBOC a long-term dredging project is needed to ensure conditions do not deteriorate again in the inlet.  The Army Corps of Engineers expects another 5,000-cubic-yards of sand to be removed from the inlet during routine dredging later this month.

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