Ocean City Houseboat

The ban on renting houseboats like this one is now official in Ocean City.

OCEAN CITY, Md -All that is required for the finalization of a ban on using houseboats as a rental for people to live while visiting Ocean City is for the second reading of an ordinance to proceed without any issues. That reading is scheduled for Monday night's Mayor and Council Meeting. The first reading was completed at the June 3 meeting.

Vacationer Carol Garcia expressed her disappointment at the potential ban. "I think it is a cool idea and I would definitely run it. I wanted to run it, but I didn't see my date available," Garcia said.

It has become a "back-and-forth" this spring when water adventure company Sea Rocket planned to rent houseboats in the Marine District along Dorchester St. Town officials claimed living on a houseboat violated the town code. Sea Rocket disputed it and even hinted at a lawsuit.

Despite the unclear legal status of renting houseboats in Ocean City, Sea Rocket has proceeded with rentals. A family currently renting the houseboat were unaware of the legal battle going on between Ocean City and Sea Rocket, and mentioned they fear they might be forced to leave if the ordinance passes.

The town of Ocean City argues that houseboats could overcrowd marinas and pose safety issues. However, Sea Rocket CEO Will Wangel insists the houseboats are completely safe. "There is no health and safety concern. That boat operates the same exact way as any other sport fish or whether it's electric sewer or anything else. It operates exactly the same," Wangel stated.

An ordinance banning houseboats as a rental until was approved by the council on May 28th. The readings are part of the formal process before the ordinance becomes official.