by Lisa Tome
On January 2, when most people headed back to work after ringing in the new year, more than two dozen people lined up outside Perryville's Town Hall.
They were from out of state and waiting for one of the 25 boat ramp permits that are sold each year. The permits became available on January 2 and were sold out within a few hours. Those who wanted the permits began lining up in the town hall parking lot about 3 a.m., explained Michelle Yackanech, an office clerk for the town.
The town has 25 of the $50 out-of-state permits. In order to get the permits, boaters must be on site in person and provide current registration for both the boat and the boat trailer. "If they (registrations) are not up to date, they don't get the permit," said town staffer Cathy McCardell. "People love our boat ramp."
The town also issues 475 in-state permits which are available for $25. These permits allow boaters unlimited access to the ramp until December 31, 2014.
The town also issues daily boat ramp permits for $10 each for out of state and $5 per day for locals. The permits have to be reserved and obtained during the week for weekend dates.
Upriver in Port Deposit, that town doesn't limit the number of passes they issue. The rates are the same, $50 a year for out-of-state users and $25 for in-state permits.
The town also has an honor box where people can submit $5 for a one-day pass. Councilman Bob Kuhs patrols the area and makes sure people pay the tab.
Those who live in the Port Deposit corporate limits can use the ramp in Marina Park free of charge. Kathy Gray, clerk for the Town of Port Deposit, said the town issues about five of those free passes annually. "I've had people calling (regarding boat ramp permits) since December. One girl gets the very first pass every year and buys it for her dad for Christmas," said Gray.
Gray said Port Deposit has sold about 10 boat ramp permits this year. "Some of these people go out in the cold for some duck hunting or ice fishing. Those folks are heartier than I am," laughed Gray.
Those who get permits for Marina Park, will have improved amenities this year. The new Department of Natural Resources grant-funded bath house should be in place by summer. Last week town officials also applied for state grant money for routine maintenance and upgrades at the ramp.