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April 25, 2023

Ocean City's Castaway Cove looks to add new roller coaster, as it continues to rebuild from 2021 fire

The boardwalk amusement park's landmark pirate ship entrance also will be rebuilt. Plans for the new roller coaster are pending approval by the shore town's city council

Recreation Roller Coasters
Ocean City Castaway Cove Jon Tuleya/PhillyVoice

Playland's Castaway Cove in Ocean City boardwalk is pictured above on March 30, 2021. Two months earlier, a fire destroyed the amusement park's pirate ship entrance and it's arcade. Now the owners are hoping to add a new roller coaster to park.

The boardwalk in Ocean City could be getting another roller coaster at Playland's Castaway Cove, the pirate-themed amusement park that was damaged by a fire more than two years ago.

For more than 60 years, the Castaway Cove's pirate ship facade had stood out on the boardwalk between 10th and 11th streets. The ship — along with its pirate holding a parrot — was destroyed in a fire in January 2021. The park's arcade also was consumed by flames and neighboring businesses sustained damage, too. The cause of the fire was determined to be electrical problems.

The fire closed Castaway Cove to for nearly two months, but the park has been open the last two summers without its arcade or access through its main entrance.

The owners of the boardwalk amusement park are looking toward its future with a proposal for a new roller coaster and a rebuilt pirate ship above a new arcade at the entrance, OCNJ Daily reported.

Brian Hartley, vice president of Castaway Cove, said the new roller coaster would be in addition to three already at the park. The tallest of the existing rides is GaleForce, which climbs 125 feet and reaches a top speed of 64 mph. The two smaller coasters are Wild Waves and Whirlwind.

The roller coaster proposal will need approval from Ocean City's zoning board. Hartley explained that the new structures require a height variance. The roller coaster is in what he called a "gray area" because rides do not typically have height restrictions, but the plan also calls for a control room for the new ride to be constructed top of the existing building in the front of the property.

If the zoning board doesn't grant the variance, the new ride may need to be scrapped.

Ongoing construction means that guests likely will continue to use the park's entrance, adjacent to neighboring Jilly's Candy Factory, to get insdie from the boardwalk this summer.

Despite the uncertainty about the roller coaster, Hartley said the new pirate ship will be better and more elaborate than the one lost in the fire.

NOTE:  Portions of this story were edited after this article was published.