Water Taxi Proposed Between Tuckerton and Beach Haven

By | Aug 09, 2017
Photo by: Gail Travers Tuckerton Creek (seen here) would be the departure point for a proposed water taxi service from Tuckerton to Beach Haven.

The trip from Tuckerton to Beach Haven in the summer can be two hours by car, and that’s if the traffic lights and traffic cooperate. It’s the same if those vacationing on Beach Haven want to visit the Tuckerton Seaport or other interesting points across the bay in Tuckerton.

This Saturday, Aug. 12, a water taxi provided by LBI Tours will take the first bunch of tourists down Tuckerton Creek and across the bay to Morrison’s Dock in Beach Haven as a test to see how feasible a summer water taxi service between the towns might be.

Southern Ocean Chamber of Commerce CEO Lori Pepenella said the idea for a water taxi between the two towns has been bantered about for 10 years or more. Recently the idea has gained some traction when Pepenella met with Tuckerton, Beach Haven and Seaport officials as part of a “Downtown Driven” $128,580 two-year New Jersey tourism grant from the Destination Marketing Organization.

“The project this week is a ‘beta’ test to gauge the ridership experience and help determine launching times, scheduling, public interest and whether creating a water taxi in 2018-2019 is feasible,” said Pepenella on Tuesday. “We are doing our due diligence.”

The four round trips from the Seaport on Saturday will be free and Seaport Director Brooke Salvanto said the slots were almost filled as soon as they were posted on the Seaport’s Facebook page.

“The captain of the boat is Tom Masterson and he has been doing our tours of the Tuckerton Creek so he will also give a tour of the creek for the passengers,” said Salvanto. “It will take about an hour for the leisurely ride across, people will spend three hours in Beach Haven and then take the boat back.”

“The neat thing is the LBI shuttle stops at Morrison’s or Dock Road so the riders won’t be stuck just walking places.”

Salvanto said the Seaport hopes to have the boat trips available during the Decoy and Gunning Show and the Chowderfest in September.

“We’re really excited it’s all coming together,” said Salvanto.

Tuckerton Mayor Sue Marshall said she and Councilman Ron Peterson, liaison to the town’s Economic Development Committee, have been meeting once a month with Beach Haven officials at the SOCC office on ways to stimulate business in Tuckerton. Last month, the Ocean County Planning Board also came to the meeting.

Peterson announced the water taxi at the Aug. 7 Tuckerton municipal meeting. “It’s a pilot program to test this thing. It works all up and down the East Coast,” he added. “We think it will help the restaurants and business here.”

He said if it works from the Seaport, there might be a push to have another boat taxi service at South Green Street Park, one that would cut the time it takes to travel the length of Tuckerton Creek.

Pepenella said if all systems are go on the idea for next year, the boat taxi would be a paid service.

“When we started taking about this in January it was all about revitalizing downtowns, taking something that is there and creating something that would become more routine for shopping and businesses,” she said. “Stockton University is doing a survey in Beach Haven and Tuckerton to see how many visitors would use the taxi. It’s about a shared economy and resources. It’s all good.

“We’re testing the waters, so to speak,” said Pepenella. “We’ll take a survey of the riders and take those findings back to our meeting in September,” she said.

— Pat Johnson

patjohnson@thesandpaper.net

 

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