Tuckerton Leader

Water Ferry Almost Ready to Launch From Tuckerton Seaport

Coast Guard Approval Delays Maiden Voyage
Oct 05, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Welcome, Pohatcong II, the new 28-passenger LBI Water Ferry that makes its home at the Tuckerton Seaport. The pontoon boat made a splash with a champagne bottle christening on Friday, Sept. 28. As of Oct. 2, it was still awaiting the final Coast Guard inspection that will clear the way for seasonal ferry service between the Seaport and the Taylor Avenue dock at West Ninth Street in Beach Haven.

A century ago and earlier, ferrying between the mainland and Island was a common way to go. Today the boat will add an element of interest to tourism.

The Seaport will add an educational eco-tour to the free ride, and the boat will make a fun, floating classroom for school groups visiting the Seaport as well.

“The economic, environmental and educational impact of this service will be significant for the area,” says the Seaport in its brochure.

Yes, the cost is free. The ferry service is free for everyone, but there is a reservation fee of $10 per person roundtrip for choosing your departure times; in other words, reserving your seat in advance. Eight of the seats will be left open for first-come, first-served filling.

Reservations can be made online at the website tuckertonseaport.org.

Although it wasn’t possible, as hoped, to have the ferry running in time for the past Chowderfest Weekend and Ocean County Duck and Decoy Show, the christening was televised by NBC 10 Philadelphia.

Tuckerton Seaport Museum Director Brooke Salvanto said Tuesday that the boat will be running in the fall “on select weekends, once it’s approved” and then re-launch its ferry service in April. Meanwhile, the boat will be used in the off-season for on-water classroom instruction.

“We’re hopeful that it will launch for Columbus Day weekend and then run probably the next two weekends; it also depends on the weather,” Salvanto said. “We’re going to announce it everywhere as soon as we know.”

Actually, “the boat passed all its inspections in Florida,” Salvanto pointed out. It is the paperwork that is still in process.

“There is nothing unusual about the time that we’re waiting” for the inspection, she said. “But we had called everyone to try and move the paperwork quicker than it would usually go. We have asked them to come in a much shorter time than they normally would. Everyone wants to be on the boat to Beach Haven and Tuckerton!

“There are so many other things that the Coast Guard inspects and getting it scheduled is difficult, but we’re hopeful every day that they’ll be here and we’ll get it up and running.”

The Seaport is seeking business and community sponsors to allow the service to continue to be free of charge to riders.

The water ferry has been an idea long in the making. Lori Pepenella, chief executive officer of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, said it was the chamber’s “Downtown Driven Program and Water Ferry Committee” with representatives of Beach Haven, Tuckerton, Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen’s Museum, and the Ocean County Planning Department that made the dream of a passenger ferry a reality.

— Maria Scandale

mariascandale@thesandpaper.net

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