Beach Haven — If you are vacationing in Beach Haven or anywhere on LBI this summer, consider a free ferry ride across Little Egg Harbor Bay to visit the Tuckerton Seaport. The Seaport is a re-created maritime village on 40 acres with exhibits and folk-ways artisans that bring the baymen’s way of living to life. There are also ecological exhibits telling the story of the pristine waters of the Mullica River watershed, the Pine Barrens and their importance to the health of Barnegat, Manahawkin, Little Egg and Tuckerton bays.
Mainlanders who want to spend a day in Beach Haven, at the beaches or Bay Village or Fantasy Island, might want to take the ferry to experience these marvels of summer fun without sitting in traffic.
This marks the first summer the 30-foot pontoon passenger ferry named the Pohatcong II will be shuttling people between the communities of Tuckerton and Beach Haven, three days a week, starting July 4th weekend through Labor Day. The passenger ferry was the brainstorm of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce and the two communities. The boat’s name is a nod to the steam-powered paddle wheel Pohatcong, which operated during the turn of 19th century when vacationers took the train to Tuckerton from New York and Philadelphia and then sailed across the bay to Beach Haven.
The pontoon boat will seat 28 passengers in sunshade-covered comfort, and Capt. Charles Roth will point out the interesting sights along Tuckerton Creek and the bay crossing where pelicans, egrets, cormorants and other bird life can be seen. The trip across the bay takes approximately one leisurely, scenic hour.
A one-way ferry trip is free, but it is first-come, first-served. A return trip is not guaranteed, so have an Uber or taxi number handy. Or pay $10 to reserve a round trip. Twenty of the 28 seats are available for advance reservation; the other eight will be first-come, first-seated.
The Tuckerton Seaport/Beach Haven Water Ferry is not wheelchair accessible at this time. Safety always comes first, and all guests 13 and younger are required to wear life vests, which are provided in both child and adult sizes. Children must be over 2 years old to ride, and anyone age 16 or younger must be accompanied by an adult.
The ferry will run Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from July 4 to Labor Day, weather permitting.
Times of departure from the Tuckerton Seaport are 8 and 11 a.m. and 2 and 5 p.m. Times of departure from the Taylor Avenue Municipal Dock in Beach Haven are 9:30 a.m. and 12:30, 3:30 and 6:30 p.m.
For updates and information on area attractions, visit https://lbiferry.com/blog/. To reserve a round trip, call 609-296-8868.
The ferry is sponsored by the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce’s Downtown Driven program with representatives of the boroughs of Beach Haven and Tuckerton, Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen’s Museum, and the Ocean County Planning Department. The effort began when the chamber established a regional economic development advisory board in honor of its 100th Anniversary in 2014. It led to the Vision 2020 strategic plan that has created programs to advance and sustain the business community in the 21st century. The Downtown Driven program was one of the priorities resulting from that plan, striving to generate operational support that will allow future service to assist with commutation to and from Long Beach Island for seasonal staffing in peak summer months.
For updates and information on how to support the Downtown Driven program, visit LBIferry.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce at 609-494-7211 or email@example.com.
— Pat Johnson