Sea Rocket ocean thrill ride provides unique beach view

Ocean City Today, Greg Ellison

The new owners of Sea Rocket, an oversized speedboat used for guided tours along the ocean coastline, are bringing renewed energy to the long established Ocean City business.

Todd Burbage and Brad Donahue, who took over the reins at the ocean-thrill ride company earlier this year, have expanded the offerings to include pontoon-fishing charters.

“We purchased the operation just after the first of the year,” Burbage said. “We spent extensive dollars fixing up the boats.”

While Burbage is new to the venture, he explained that Donahue is an old salt.

“My business partner Brad ran the Sea Rocket for 15 years for the previous owner, who was his father in law,” he said. “It was just a great, easy, smooth transition.”

The duo, who have been running guided tours, as well as parasailing and fishing charters since May, decided to rewrap the boats but kept close to the previous theme.

“We went after the patriotic look,” he said. “The Sea Rocket has always been sort of red, white and blue.”

Burbage said through revamped marketing efforts the business has developed partnerships with numerous hotels and restaurants on the island. “This has been more, we call it gorilla marketing, where we’re out in the streets,” he said. “We hired interns that go out three times a week and see all the hotels.”

The business partners found many resort proprietors were already quite familiar with their operation.

“Sea Rocket has been around since 1988 in Ocean City and it’s sort of an institution here,” he said. “The only thing new is we have the Sea Rocket bay fishing.”

The Sea Rocket guided tours, which can last up to an hour, start from the inlet and cruise the coastline as far as the Carousel Hotel on 117th Street before returning to dock, Burbage said.

“Our boat has the big rooster tail that shoots water out the back, which kids love,” he said. “It makes it appear that we’re going faster than normal.”

The precise time for each journey is tough to calculate depending on what encounters occur, Burbage said.

“We see tons of dolphin out there,” he said. “We’re able to stop and show the kids who might not have seen dolphin in the wild before.”

Burbage and Donahue are both committed to giving back to the community when opportunity arises.

“In two weeks we’re hosting Big Brother and Big Sisters for free,” he said. “Just to get kids and non profits, maybe the demographic that hasn’t been on the water, to get them out there and enjoy it.”

The Sea Rocket guided tours cost $22 for adults, $13 for seniors, and $10 for children ages 3-12. Children younger than three ride for free. The speedboat makes eight trips per day beginning at 9:30 a.m. The schedule is reduced from September 3-24 to two daily trips at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

“The crew does a great job entertaining people,” Burbage said. “It’s just a fun, sort of inexpensive opportunity for people to get out on the water [and] see Ocean City from a different angle.”

For more information visit searocket.com or call 410-289-4FUN.