Will anyone ride LBI’s new passenger ferry?

Will anyone ride LBI's new passenger ferry?

02 Ağustos 2018 - 02:00

Starting later this month there will be a new — less congested — way to get to Long Beach Island. 

A passenger ferry will begin making trips from Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen's Museum on the Ocean County mainland to Beach Haven on Long Beach Island. 

Ferry proponents on both sides of the bay hope the free ferry, scheduled to begin service on Aug. 19, will attract patrons to the seaport and provide an alternative form of transportation for tourists, local beachcombers and seasonal workers to the heavily congested barrier island.

But others are skeptical that the service will be able stay afloat — financially, that is — in the wake of past ferry ventures that went under after failing to attract sufficient ridership.

Here's what you need to know:

When will it run?

The new ferry service will operate on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, departing the seaport at 8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2p.m, arriving about 45 minutes later at Beach Haven's Taylor Avenue Municipal Dock. The ferry will depart the Beach Haven dock at 9:30am, 12:30pm and 3:30pm.

There are plans to add a second boat for more frequent trips, and officials said more days could be added to the schedule depending on initial ridership.

There will be special Saturday service for Beach Haven's annual Chowderfest on Sept. 29, and regular Sunday service for the festival's second day that weekend.

Service was originally scheduled to begin this Sunday, Aug. 5, but was pushed back two weeks to allow finishing touches on the ferry boat, which was custom-ordered from a sightseeing boat builder in Florida.

Full scheduling information is published by the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, which worked with Ocean County planners and Seaport and Beach Haven officials in support of the project 

"It just opens another avenue of awareness of the area, about the history, the ecology," said Lori Pepenella, the chamber's executive director. As an alternative to congested roads, Pepenella added, “Certainly in key times, it could make a difference in whether somebody wants to come over or not.”

A one-way trip takes about 45 minutes, "on a good day," quipped Hart, referring to variable winds and wave heights that can prolong the 5-mile voyage.

The custom-built boat that will ferry beach goers, seasonal workers and others between is equipped with a pair of hollow aluminum V-shaped hulls designed to barely break the surface while still providing stability, and ideal combination for navigating the shallow but often choppy waters of lower Barnegat Bay.


Who's paying for it?

Rides on the ferry will be free for passengers. It is being built by Sightseer Marine of Hudson, Florida, at a cost to the seaport of $125,000. Hart said the cost is being financed by a loan from an anonymous seaport supporter, and will be repaid by grants and contributions the seaport anticipates receiving for the ferry project.

The Borough of Beach Haven has set aside $5,000 toward the ferry project in its current budget, though no funds have been disbursed, according to the borough clerk's office. 




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