Posted on July 28, 2021
OCEAN CITY, Md.- For a 48-hour stint, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Murden dredging vessel will take to the Ocean City Inlet.
It set out early Monday with an important mission.
“They’re working 24-hour shifts and the dredge Merdun is a hopper dredge so it has two arms along the side that end up reaching down into the channel that essentially act as vacuum cleaners to suck up the sediment from those shoaled areas to make sure that the channel gets to its authorized depth, which is 10-feet,” said Danielle Szimanski, Ocean City Project Manager of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
When the sediment gets too high for bigger boats, it’s dangerous for them to travel and can scrape the bottom of the boat or worse — trap them and that can be financially devastating.
“A lot of the time it limits when boats can actually enter West Ocean City harbor and especially if you’re a commercial fisherman. That can greatly impact their load and their finances, being able to limit when they can enter and exit Ocean City,” said Szimanski.
“It’s very needed. The inlet is a very important part to the fishing and boating community. It allows us access to the ocean from inside Ocean City. You want to make it safe. The deeper the water, the bigger the boats!” said George Lamploo, Dockmaster of White Marlin Marina in Ocean City.
“It all starts at the inlet. There’s no way to get out from the back bay to the ocean without the inlet. If you don’t have the inlet, you don’t have what we’re enjoying right now,” he said.
Ocean City inlet dredging has been a federally-funded program since 2015 and happens several times a year.
A 25-day dredging project will also take place in the middle of August where the Army Corps said it will move dredged material from the Inlet to Assateague to help fight erosion.