Coast Guard-controlled area to close portion of fishing waters off OC
(March 26, 2021) A temporary security zone controlled by the United States Coast Guard will be established approximately 8 miles off the coast of Ocean City from April 25 through May 8.
“The (local military) has determined that a security zone is needed for waterborne protection of the public, mitigation of potential terrorist acts, and the enhancing of public and maritime safety and security in order to safeguard life, property and the environment on or near the navigable waters near Ocean City,” according to a press release from the Coast Guard.
While the area is under Coast Guard control, it will be off limits to unauthorized boaters.
Capt. Monty Hawkins, of the Morning Star charter boat, said it was too early to tell how the cordoned-off stretch will affect fishing, but remained skeptical.
“(The Coast Guard) posted this thing in the Federal Register and said, ‘This is something we’d like to do — have any objections?’ “ Hawkins said. “Well, yeah, we do have objections. We have a strong objections.”
While the adverse affects to his business usually aren’t as dire in mid-spring as they would be in mid-summer, Hawkins said, the loosening of covid-19 restrictions could trigger an early-season rush, with which the security zone could interfere.
The area is roughly a trapezoid running north to south, with the short end on the west side, and its southern end covering a portion of the Bass Grounds fishing area. It is about the length of Ocean City itself offshore. It is parallel to most of Ocean City and the northern half of Assateague Island.
The enclosing coordinates for the zone are 38 degrees 23.56 minutes north latitude and 074 degrees 48.06 minutes west longitude, 38 degrees 21.40 minutes north latitude and 074 degrees 48.33 minutes west longitude, 38 degrees 17.54 minutes north latitude and 074 degrees 49′.57 minutes west longitude, 38 degrees 15.04 minutes north latitude and 074 degrees 51.44 minutes west longitude, 38 degrees 18.52 minutes north and 074 degrees 54.24 minutes west latitude, and 38 degrees 22.55 minutes north and 074 degrees 52.44 minutes west.
The Coast Guard will field questions and concerns from the general public regarding the security zone until April 15. Comments can be made at https://www.regulations.gov/.