Getting ready to take the boat out, but worried that debris from Sandy may make it difficult?
GoBoatingNJ.org may help.
Since Hurricane Sandy came ashore in late October, reports of unprecedented destruction to area marine facilities have left boaters wondering if there will be a boating season in 2013, said Ed "Skip" Harrison, who is the owner of Baywood Marina, in Brick Township, and is a Board Member of the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey.
The www.goboatingnj.org initiative was launched to address these concerns by providing coverage of the restoration efforts taking place each day by state, federal and municipal agencies as well as scores of volunteers and organizations.
The Go Boating NJ campaign highlights - through on-the-water videos and photos - some of NJ's most popular boating areas to give boaters firsthand knowledge and visuals that these waterways are open and ready for them this season, Harrison said.
"Lots of people are hearing rumors, we thought the best way to go is show them," Harrison said. "Basically, if you are going anywhere where the breaches are, on that side, you are going to have shoal, and they are working on taking all that out. When you are not in the channel, you have to be a little bit more wary of what you are doing, but when you are in the channels, I would say all the channels we went through didn't have any issues."
Dredging projects are either underway or beginning throughout the area, he said, so caution is warranted, but overall, he said many major channels are passable.
Harrison said his marina has been rebuliding for months since Sandy, thanks to flood insurance reimbursement. While he did not recover all his losses, Harrison said he received about 60 percent of his damages back. He is still awaiting word on whether or not the SBA loan he applied for went through.
"Our docks are good, they are usable, our pumpout wash water system is usable, as far as that stuff goes we are good," Harrison said. He said they also have plans to expand the business, including adding additional bay shop doors so they can work on boats throughout the winter.
"The marina's been in the family since 1965, so a lot needs to be done," he said.
Discussing lost business, Harrison said that "talk of the bay not being in good shape is not helping us."
Frank Przemielewski, the owner of Ted & Son’s Forked River Marina, echoed that sentiment. Typically, early spring is the time that people haul their boats down to the marina for service, or rent a slip, as they get ready for a season on the water. But, his customers just aren’t sure if they’re even going in the water this year, Przemielewski recently told Patch.
David Southwick, co-owner of Southwick's Marina in Long Beach Township said his marina sustained about $150,000 worth of damage in the storm, and the entire staff has been working since the storm hit to get the marina back on track.
Still, he said, he knows it's going to be an "off year. Slips aren't rented, so we are just going to have to tighen our belts and get through it."
Southwick said he's hoping the videos on Go Boating NJ website will help.
"We went out a few weeks ago in March, left from here, went south of the Mantoloking Bridge, traveled south to Silver Bay and Cattus Island, and continued south under the Toms river bridge to the mouth of Toms River," Harrison told Patch. "Then we went back north, through Mantoloking Bridge, and went around to the Metedeconk River, traveled down three-quarters of the way down to the Metedeconk, north to canal, went west on to the Manasquan River. We had six boats out, and didn't have one incident. I actually didn't really even see any debris floating. I think they've done a lot of work."
The footage from that trip, along with footage of the Barnegat Bay, Harvey Cedars, Forked River, Tices Shoal and the Navesink are also on the website.
Harrison said he hopes the footage will convince pleasure boaters to venture back out this year.
Southwick agreed, and said he is confident that once the warmer weather arrives, as long as everyone exercises caution, "people can come out, have a good time and still be safe."