Downtown Driven Water Ferry Project nominated for NJTIA Excellence Award
SHIP BOTTOM, N.J.
- March 18, 2019
-- Celebrating its 105th milestone year, the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce raises awareness of the value of private and public partnerships. As a globally accredited Destination Management Organization, they introduced their Downtown Driven Economic Development Program in 2017. Its purpose is to work with local governments and merchant led groups to help establish direction of the discussion regarding immediate and long term needs that foster a strong business community that embraces economic development through tourism. The first two municipalities to sign on was Borough of Beach Haven and Borough of Tuckerton. It was clear that the two towns wanted to connect through a water ferry service. They established a Water Ferry Committee , this Private and Public Partnership includes Borough of Beach Haven, Borough of Tuckerton EDC, Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, Ocean County Planning Department and Tuckerton Seaport Museum.
Within a year, the group developed and funded a 2017 Ferry project that ran 32 successful trips across the bay leaving from Tuckerton Seaport to Beach Haven docks. In addition to saving gas and reducing the carbon footprint of crowded summer weekends, the passengers completed experience surveys, and took part in a Bay, Wildlife and Historical Eco Tour while making the crossing. The reservation only service met capacity during its limited run in 2017, which also led to Southern Ocean Chamber creating a dedicated website at lbiferry.com. The Downtown Driven Water Ferry Committee also participated in several initiatives to show due diligence for this project, including larger audience surveying utilizing Stockton University Lloyd D Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism. As part of a commissioned Visitor Profile, the intercept and online questions had a water ferry response. In 2017, the ferry project was part of the New Jersey League of Municipalities Conference Tourism session and included in Southern Ocean Chamber's presentation at the Global Tourism Convention in Anaheim. The committee worked to help the non profit Tuckerton Seaport secure a dedicated vessel for this program. Launched Chowderfest Weekend 2018, the Pohatcong II was christened to provided the service known as the Tuckerton Seaport- Beach Haven Ferry powered by the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce. The 28 passenger pontoon boat will offer free service with 31 sailing dates with 8 trips per day in 2019, running July 4 to Labor Day on Saturday, Sunday and Monday from Tuckerton Seaport to the Taylor Avenue Dock in Beach Haven. There is no cost to ride, but if patrons would like to make a reserve to secure their to and return trip a $10 donation can be made to include Tuckerton Seaport admission for the day.
This project is unique and certainly brings tourism, economic development and innovation into New Jersey for all to benefit. The winners for the 2019 Awards will be held at NJTIA Spring Advocacy Day Breakfast on May 9 in Trenton. For more information on the ferry go to www.lbiferry.com to learn more about this service or to www.njtia.org regarding Tourism Excellence Awards and Breakfast. The Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce is available by calling 609 494 7211 or by stopping into their visitor center at 265 W Ninth Street Ship Bottom.