SOMERS POINT — After several years in the planning stages, the transient marina on the Somers Point waterfront is officially open. City Council members Janice Johnston and Mike Owen talked about the plans for the marina Thursday, July 2, at the official grand opening of the facility. Owen introduced Jen Boyce of Baycats in Ocean City, who is overseeing the operation of the marina as well as renting kayaks, paddle boards and catamarans; giving lessons; and offering sunrise and sunset cruises.
The transient marina is designed to bring visitors to Somers Point to enjoy what the city has to offer: great restaurants, the Gateway Theater, an art gallery and the charm of a small town on the bay. Johnston explained that the slips in the marina are free and visitors can pull in, tie off and stay for up to three days. The only charge would be if they needed to hook up to electric; they would then have to pay for the power they used with a credit card using the kiosk at the marina. The Duke of Fluke is also moored at the marina and offers daily fishing and ecology tours.
The councilwoman explained that the marina was built completely with $1.5 million in grants and the new amenity to the city will benefit Somers Point but did not use taxpayer dollars to complete, citing a grant from the state Department of Transportation along with several others. Right at the foot Higbee Avenue, adjacent to the William Morrow Beach on Bay Avenue, are the newly created 26 transient slips. Owen said that while the marina did not take taxpayer dollars to construct, it did take a lot of effort from City Hall to bring together. The councilman praised city Clerk Lucy Samuelsen for coordinating many different aspects of the project that included dredging along the waterfront. He also thanked city engineer Greg Schneider, Administrator Wes Swain and Assistant Administrator Jason Frost for their contribution, taking the transient marina from a concept after Hurricane Sandy and guiding it into a reality.
Boyce said Baycats has been a part of the Ocean City waterfront for more than 25 years, renting kayaks, paddleboards and catamarans at 316 Bay Ave. “We are going to be overseeing the operation here at the marina in Somers Point. We envision this as kind of a pop-up shop on the beach here. It will bring new eyes and a new energy to see everything that Somers Point has to offer,” Boyce said. “We hope to collaborate with local businesses, things like, you can rent a paddle board and enjoy a paddle down and enjoy lunch at the Anchorage or one of the other great places to eat right along Bay Avenue and the waterfront. We hope to work with one of the fitness centers in the future as well.” She said there will be guided tours and special events, paddle board lessons, yoga paddle and an effort to create some real energy on the beach and the bayfront in Somers Point.
A number of locals came to celebrate the official opening of the marina, though it has been operational for the past week. Point resident Joe McCarron said he likes how the city has encouraged small businesses to come to Somers Point. “We are a shore town. You shouldn’t have to drive someplace to rent a kayak, now we have a wonderful spot right here on the waterfront,” McCarron said. “This is a new destination and a real beach area with amenities and recreation.”
Also on the beach Thursday was William Raynor, who moved to Somers Point several months ago from San Diego. “You have really got it here. You are doing things for families and for the kids, this a great addition to the city of Somers Point. I like to fish and I like boats, and its all right here. This is really something special.”
Boyce announced Max Weisman will head the Somers Point operation and will have a crew that will not only be renting catamarans, kayaks and paddle boards but will also be giving lessons. They will assist the boaters arriving in Somers Point whether it is for an afternoon or a weekend. Alex Weisman operates the day-to-day Ocean City Baycats venture.
There will soon be an app for Baycats in Somers Point, but for now, call ahead to find out whether a slip is available or to book a catamaran cruise or secure a kayak or paddle board, at 609-866-9895. The hours of operation on the beach in Somers Point is 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekends.