The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has announced that the concrete boat ramp at Gull Cove in Portsmouth has reached the end of its useful life and will be removed this summer. Located on the south side of Route 24 between exits 2 and 3, just west of the Sakonnet River Bridge, the boat ramp is more than 25 years old.

Based on a recent evaluation, DEM determined that removing the ramp is the best option for this site. Gull Cove is not an ideal launch area for boaters because it does not provide the conditions necessary to meet the States Organization for Boating Access (SOBA) guidelines without extensive and costly dredging and site modifications. SOBA is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit group that promotes federal and state programs that provide safe, high-quality, and environmentally sound recreational boat access to US waterways.

Bids are being solicited for a contractor to remove and dispose of the boat ramp. A date for the removal will be set once the bidding process is completed.

The Gull Cove Fishing Area will remain open to the public for shoreline fishing and paddling access, although, on occasion, the area may be unavailable for a brief time to facilitate the removal of the boat ramp. The ramp site, which will be graded following the removal of the ramp, and the adjacent shoreline are both suitable for launching hand-carried boats. The area consists of a narrow access road built on a peninsula of land that opens to more than 50,000 square feet of parking area and public access shoreline.

There are many boating access points throughout the state, including the nearby Sakonnet River Bridge boat ramp on Riverside Drive in Tiverton and the Mount Hope boat ramp in Bristol. Visit DEM’s website for a list of public boat launching sites. Follow DEM on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) or Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEMfor timely updates.