Commercial/party boats are now banned from Neptune’s township-owned Shark River Municipal Marina on the Shark River – a move that has at least one commercial boat owner upset.
Ray Burke, a licensed captain who operates the 35-foot charter boat Mad Gapper at the marina, said he rented his slip for the first time this year “in good faith” and that his business is “professional and courteous.”
He appeared at the last Township Committee meeting where the governing body unanimously adopted an ordinance banning commercial boats at the marina.
Burke called the marina “a great facility” that allows people to see an area of Neptune that many people never see.
“I would like to remain and run my charter boat. I feel you should designate a few commercial boat slips with rules that need to be followed,” he said.
Burke said his boat does not have large nets, lobster traps and provides only recreational fishing.
Burke said that there are a lot of vacant slips at the marina and that it could charge a higher rate for commercial fishing boats.
“Our customers also support a lot of other local businesses and I think I have been a good tenant,” he said.
Resident Dorothy Argyros, a longtime critic of the township taking ownership of the marina, said commercial boats should be “allowed to thrive” at the marina as an additional source of revenue.
“Are you trying to kill the taxpayers?” she asked.
Township Committeeman Nick Williams said that the marina makes money without catering to commercial boats and that the decision by the governing body to adopt the ordinance is based on that.
Deputy Mayor Michael Brantley said he supports the ban on commercial boats.
“This is not a commercial marina,” he said.
He did, however, say that he would be willing to revisit and discuss the issue in the future.