Onset boat ramp work moves forward as deadline nears

By Matthew Bernat | Apr 17, 2017
Courtesy of: Wareham Harbormaster Department A crane lifts a concrete panel into place as work continues on the Onset boat ramp.

After a delayed start, the firm tasked with building a new Onset boat ramp is making headway to complete the project before time runs out on an April 30 deadline.

The Kingstown, Rhode Island-based Key Corporation was set to begin work in early March. For unknown reasons, major construction began last week.

Harbormaster Garry Buckminster said the company now appears on track.

“I feel the deadline will be met,” said Buckminster on Monday, noting that a lot of progress has been made in a short period of time. “They will likely have the ramp done by the end of the week, and all that’s left is clean up and making sure the parking lot is in order.”

The company submitted the lowest bid for the work, which includes constructing a 16-foot wide, 104-foot long ramp. Out of four received in mid-August, Key Corporation's bid was $156,000.

Built in 1962, the boat ramp is located off of East Boulevard in Onset, on Broad Cove. A concrete ramp will be built at the site, allowing boaters to easily get their vessels in and out of the cove. Funds for the reconstruction are coming from a $100,000 Community Preservation Act grant.

The Bouchard Transportation Trustee Council also awarded $67,500 for the project. That council is responsible for helping to clean up Buzzards Bay following an oil spill in 2003.

Comments (13)
Posted by: Cross Currents | Apr 18, 2017 11:57

It is wonderful that the aging boat ramp is being upgraded. The harbormasters office with Gary is definetley making needed improvements in town. Now lets hope that the behavior of some of the boaters using the ramp will improve as well. In addition the commercial boat yards should respect the recreational users. This is free in Onset. In Bourne you need to pay by the foot to launch!!

Posted by: Chaka | Apr 18, 2017 15:30

The ramp is being constructed with Warehams community preservation money, yet the ramp is open to anyone from anywhere. If I may make a tacky analogy, "Sometimes this town feels like a slutty teenager, giving it away to whoever shows interest and asks." I would like to see the ramp available to wareham residents only. If it has to be open to non-residents, I would like to see a fee charged; a hefty one at that, going straight to trash barrels and pickup in Onset. Not going into the mysterious general fund, which delivers no trash pickup for all the tourists that come and use our town.

A friend is quick to point out that "the decree of 1916 says Onset bluffs are for everyone and that you aren't allowed to make money off them." I counter with the Onset bluffs are for everyone and that both the boat ramp and the marina next to the Stone bridge were both illegally built on property that the Massachusetts superior court deemed to be  forever open to the public and not to be built upon Or turned into commercial enterprises. However, a little influence and a lot of cash enabled both enterprises to happen. You can't have it both ways.

My problem with both the ramp and the Marina is pollution. Too much motor boat traffic in the coves without enough flushing. Do you know how dirty the water is in Broad cove is for swimmers? It scored 64 out of a 100. MUddy cove scored 57 out of a 100. Onset harbor didn't fare much better. Until our water isn't clean enough to share with every boater in New England who wants A piece of our free ramp, I say residents only.

Posted by: Chaka | Apr 18, 2017 15:35

Correction--Last sentence should say "until our water IS clean enough"

Posted by: wtbarber | Apr 18, 2017 16:49

Chaka - If you use that onset ramp there is no place to park unless you have either wareham or Onset resident sticker.  There's no dock at this location and there still won't be one after the new ramp is done.   It's unrealistic for an out of town resident to park legally and use the ramp.

Posted by: wtbarber | Apr 18, 2017 17:08

Tempest Knob is a different story, but I would rather have a town that embraced public access vs. a stuffy town like Chatham that limits public access to 40 spaces, charges $26 to launch and makes non-residents park so far away that you need a bike.   There is clearly a need for more public access ramps in MA and I'm glad Wareham is more open than the "not in my backyard" types.

Posted by: Snowman | Apr 19, 2017 11:15

This Improvement is a positive thing.  Not charging for our ramp use is positive.  WTB is right in that overuse by out of town guest is self policed.  I cannot imagine that a boat ramp adds pollution in any significant way.


We must continue to share and promote our town.


Great job WHM Dept.  !

Posted by: Chaka | Apr 19, 2017 14:22

For me, It's not about snobbery, it's about keeping our water clean. Out of town residents can get parking stickers for the ramp area. There is a lot of traffic from Atlantic boats and other boatyards in the area that pretty much run shuttles from their landlocked boatyards to the onset ramp and just put boats in the water all day. Also some larger commercial  trailer vehicles dropping off boats severely damaged the ramp last year as the residents who live overlooking the ramp can tell you. I would prefer onsets waters to be known as a kayaker paradise, not a free motorboat launch.

Posted by: Chaka | Apr 19, 2017 14:30

A boat ramp does not add pollution, but the boats who use it do. Just watch the oily smoke coming out of the motors. I was going to say "a resident is going to care more about these waters where we live, and not dump bilge or bathroom waste or trash whatever, but then I look at all the garbage dumped all over Wareham and sadly realize that argument doesn't hold water. I like the boat ramp at tempest knob, that is big enough to flush out pollution, but little tiny east river, broad cove isn't.

If boats aren't causing pollution in the coves, then what is? Is it cranberry chemicals making their way to the sea?

Posted by: Snowman | Apr 19, 2017 15:34

Chaka.  I am in agreement with you when it comes to fiercely protecting our waters from pollution.  However launching boats is probably not the source. If anyone dumps waste they are in jepordy for huge fines and if anyone sees that happen, they should be immediately reported to the HM for a big fat ticket.

It is only my opinion, but I think that the foam and discoloration you see in the summer is from nitrogen from lawns being over fertilized, the Cranberry Bogs, and quite possibly the Golf Course.  When you add all nitrogen you get plant and algae growth that far exceeds what Nature can control.

If we all cut down the amount of fertilizer we used by 50% it would have a positive effect on our waters.

Posted by: wtbarber | Apr 19, 2017 20:48

Chaka - I appreciate your commitment to keep the water "clean".  I believe you have some displaced anger on boats using Onset ramp.    EPA regulated outboard engine manufacturers to create cleaner burning outboards in 1998 (20 years ago).  By 2006 all outboards made were either direct injection or Four Stoke.  Both designs run very clean.  The engines you see smoke a lot are generally the old two stroke motors burning off extra oil during startup.  Sometimes in the early season you might see a real smoke show if a motor was fogged for the winter.  Some of what you might see might also be steam on cold mornings.  I promise you there is more water pollution from fertilizer and septic systems.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Apr 20, 2017 07:32

I believe a lot of the pollution would be coming from the runoff and drainage from cranberry highway and the homeless camps. With the warm shallow water and all that fecal matter that cove is steeping a concoction of nightmares.

Posted by: cranky pants | Apr 20, 2017 13:33

Those homeless camps are getting out of control with trash and old bedding thrown about. You can see one starting to form by the Elks on rt.28

Someone should be accountable for the trespassing and littering.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 20, 2017 16:50

Chaka, you made my day!  I've been browbeat on here (not by you) for referring to things that happen in Wareham as Warehamy. I've actually toned it way down because I respect those that were getting offended and because not much deserving that description has been in the paper lately.  But I just had a good laugh at how your comment about a boatramp resulted in you stating   "Sometimes this town feels like a slutty teenager, giving it away to whoever shows interest and asks." That's just too funny.  If I said that they'd have cracked my moniker, came for me, and put me in the stocks in downtown Wareham.


Also, I couldn't have stated it better than WTBARBER.  He is 100% perfectly accurate.  Boats, especially since 1998, are quite clean.  The scores you mention are not about boat emissions and discharges.  Those have much more to do with nitrogen, organic pollution, turbidity, etc.


Watch out for those teenagers hanging around down by the boatramp!

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