OCEAN CITY, MD. -- Business owners and officials at Maryland's main Eastern Shore resort are evaluating whether the summer of 1987 was a great season -- or just so-so.

"It was sporadic at times. But July and August were good," said Robert Rothermel Jr., executive director of the Ocean City Convention Center. "It was a good season. It wasn't a tremendous season."

Business owners tend to agree that the summer got off to a slow start because of a cold spring and the delayed arrival of high school students whose classes went later into June because of snow days.

William Salvatore, president of the Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association, said Ocean City businesses had a bad June despite good weather.

"That one month we took it on the chin," Salvatore said, but predicted he would match last year's record revenue.

Ocean City Mayor Roland (Fish) Powell said, "Personally, I don't think it was a slow season. Business people in Ocean City, as a rule, will try not to show things are busting wide open."

Powell points out that reports he received indicate the resort has broken water- and sewage-pumping and garbage collection records this year.

The Ocean City Public Relations Department said this summer's tourist population exceeded the summer of 1986 by 12 percent, up to 3.8 million.

Every summer cannot be a "tear-the-door-off-the-hinges" season, said Hale Harrison, whose family business owns more commercial real estate in Ocean City than any other conglomerate.

"Our summer was satisfactory," Harrison said. "We could have accommodated more people. I would rate it as good. You're bound to hit a good one instead of a great one. But I don't think anybody should be pessimistic. I've never seen a bad season in Ocean City."

Unofficial estimates for the Labor Day weekend put crowds from 150,000 to almost 200,000.