Saturday, January 30, 2016

Boat show calendar

Oldies but Goodies

Gleaming varnish work will treat the eyes and the rumble of antique engines will be music to the ears June 18 as the Lake Hopatcong chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society hosts its 42d annual show at the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club on Bertand Island in Mt. Arlington.

Runabouts, utilities and go-fast boats from the 40s and 50s will be on display 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Nautical heritage

Area nautical museums preserve our rich maritime history. Here is a listing of places well worth a visit to get a taste of craft of yesteryear.

 A unique variety of vessels have navigated the waters of Barnegat Bay and you can see examples ate the Toms River Seaport Society and Maritime Museum, founded in 1976. A Cat, melon seed, sea skiff, garveys and pram designs are on display.
Museum schedule is Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Check

Lovers of New Jersey traditional craft will find a treasure at the Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen’s Museum on Tuckerton Creek. The museum boasts the largest collection of sneakboxes, numbering about 60, including one dating to 1909.
Garveys, another traditional type of craft, are on display, and the museum offers a family boat building weekend in which participants construct actual boats.
Besides boat exhibits, decoy carving and other crafts are practiced at the museum.
Slips are available for daytime visiting boaters, but watch for shallow water, said spokesperson Jackie Wood.

The museum is at 120 W. Main Street. Phone is 609-296-8868. Check

Not a museum, as such, but the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association is an active organization working to promote the maritime heritage of Monmouth County. Programs include community boat building, on-water activities for youngsters, and various presentations. Meetings are held in the Red Bank area.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Beware of the whales...

Whales in our waters? Imagine that.

It seems that more and more these denizens of the deep are showing up locally. But while lovers of the natural world can take heart that the environment seems to be improving, caution is in order for boaters.

The recent sighting of three beluga whales in nearby Long Island Sound is s welcome sign that waters are cleaning up. But while boaters might be tempted to approach for a close-up view, they should keep their distance.

Besides the whales, our waters harbor  a variety of sea life, including turtles, dolphins and seals. These creatures are susceptible to injuries from collision with boats and need their space for safety.

Propellers can cause serious wounds, but even personal watercraft, with no prop and jet drives, can cause blunt force injuries. It works two ways, and collision with a large sea creature can damage the boat.

If you find yourself close to one of these large marine animals, put your engine in neutral until the animal swims away. Take a picture if you can, but from a distance. Don’t follow the animal, or try to feed it. The sea creatures are protected by federal law and interfering with one, even if unintentional, can bring a fine.

Do report your sighting to the Coast Guard or other authorities.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Springtime on the Hudson
Walking past my neighbor's house on frigid winter days, I would warm up to seeing Dov Neimand in his garage working on building a skin on frame Greenland kayak. The precision work paid off and here is Dov, happily paddling, ensconced in his 17-foot craft. The water is still cold but his drysuit keeps out the chill. To read more about Dov's adventures, go to


Monday, April 20, 2015

Welcome to

Oldie but goodie! Lake Hopatcong is home to classics of yesteryear. Here is a 1913 Matthews. Photo by Charlie Zusman.

Elegant, one-of-a-kind A Cats racing on Barnegat Bay.
Photo by Charlie Zusman
New Jersey is an island. Well, almost. Surrounded by water from the Delaware River,
around Cape May, and up the shore to the Hudson River, the coastline is a prime spot for recreation boating. Also, there are sizeable lakes, rivers, reservoirs and smaller lakes.

The Garden State boasts a unique mix of boating — classic sailing and powerboats,  sleek racing sailboats,  active racing programs, Jet-Skis (more properly known generically as personal watercraft), fishing boats small and large. Kayaks are ever popular and growing more so.

The state is a nautical crossroads, with boaters heading from points south to points north, and vice versa. Skippers and crews have stories to tell, so we can all share in their adventures, and even misadventures.

This blog will serve as a central point of reference for New Jersey boaters, and those who would like to be boaters. On the theory that waterfront activities in general are of interest to boaters, we will include such items from New Jersey and neighboring states.

A feature article will lead the blog, to be change periodically, but each will be archived for future reference. A calendar feature will list activities, including the many sailing regattas throughout the season. Book review will steer boaters to stories of boats and the sea to pass the time on winter evenings.

Much of the subject matter will be shaped by my experience reporting on sailing, and then boating in general, for 17 years at The Star-Ledger.

Please read, and please offer your comments, and tips on events in your homewaters for inclusion in the calendar.

--Thanks, Charlie Zusman

Boat sharing

Share, share, share a boat...

Visit a marina, or a yacht club on a sunny summer weekend and what do you see?
Lot’s of boats.

The odd thing is you’re likely not to see many skippers and crew, whose craft sit idly tied up in their slips or on their moorings. It’s not that we don’t want to be out boating, just that other things come first—weddings, family gatherings, the kid’s Little League games.

It makes you think about the money you spend to keep your boat, and the actual time aboard—it often doesn’t compute.

What if you could just hop aboard and sail away for a half-day, maybe a day, and when you’re done dock the boat and go home? Of course you will pay your fair share of the cost, but that will be much less than paying the cost of a boat that you hardly use.

There are a number of such sharing opportunities, largely in the sailing world but some for power boaters too.  Here are some that I know of:

The Raritan Yacht Club in Perth Amboy, a venerable institution marking 150 years, has been trying something new—a “time share” program offering part-time use of a Colgate 26. The program is going into its third year with a second boat and some 12 families participating, said Commodore Bob Wardlow.

It’s a way to test the waters “and see if you actually like boating,” Wardlow said.  Participants must join the club, and there is an initiation fee plus dues, but it adds up to a bargain considereing the cost of owning a boat and paying dockage, insurance, and maintenance, Wardlow said.

Sailing is on Raritan Bay.  Check

The Friends of Belmar Harbor, a community sailing group on the Shark River in Belmar, offers programs for youngsters and adults. A variety of small boats and day sailors, also kayaks and paddleboards, are available for use by members of the program. A family membership costs $225 for the season. Check

The Colgate Offshore Sailing School, with locations at Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City, offers a club arrangement where members go sailing and racing in New York/New Jersey Harbor. Boats used are Colgate 26s, designed specifically for the Colgate program. Check

To sail as crew, you must complete a two-course at the school. To sail as skipper completion of the school’s three-day course, or equivalent experience, subject to a checkout ride, is required, said Beth Oliver, director of marketing. Basic dues for the sailing club are$14,95, and for skipper $1995. Season is April to October.

The Manhattan Yacht Club, formerly at North Cove in lower Manhattan, will be operating out of the Liberty Harbor Marina in Jersey City, on the north side of the Morris Canal. Members sail J-24s in New York Harbor. Club membership is for sailors who have completed a sailing course or have experience. Check
Season is May through October. Members take part in racing as well as daysailing.

The Harlem Yacht Club, on nearby Long Island Sound at City Island, N.Y., offers programs to use club-owned J-24s and smaller boats. Check for details.

Also on City Island, the City Island Yacht Club offers a boat sharing membership where participants divide up the maintenance chores and get to sail on club owned boats—two Catalina 25s and a J/24. Check

SEAS, a sail training group with chapters in Bergen, Morris, Monmouth and Westchester counties, offers programs to sail on boats owned by the organization. Details vary by chapter. See SEAS stands for Society for the Education of American Sailors.

Keep in mind that sailing typically requires a crew and skippers, especially racers, are often looking for able-bodied reliable help. Experience helps, but often a skipper is willing to train. Ask around at a sailing club and you’re likely to hear “Welcome aboard.”

In the powerboat world, “The club concept has gained a lot of ground,” said Ray Fernandez of Bridge Marina on Lake Hopatcong, who has been running a club program for nearly a decade. After joining and taking a training session, club members make a reservation, then “just show up” and go. When done, they dock the boat and are done.

Eight boats are currently used in the program, Fernandez said, from 20 to 25 feet and 150 to 320 horsepower. Members typically will use a boat for four or five hours.

For powerboaters, Freedom Boat Club, a nationwide organization just opening a facility in Brick Twp., offers members use of a selection of powerboats in the 23-25 foot range.

After registering online to take out a vessel, boaters are greeted by a dockmaster who helps them and their guests to the boat, goes through a checklist, and wishes the party Bon Voyage. Returning to the dock, boaters are again greeted by the dockmaster who helps them off the boat and to their car, and they’re on their way.

Members typically take out a boat for a five-hour slot, said Theresa Najjar, of the Brick club.

For information on the club and other locations, see

The Brick club is located at Forge Landing Marina on the Metedeconk River.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Among phenomena striking fear in the hearts of boaters, one of them has to be lightning. While strikes are rare, they are still something to wonder about and fret.

Take a look at reporting on the subject by BoatUS. Click here.