Experience a different kind of Jersey Shore with a nautical adventure. Atlantic and Cape May counties host incredible water sports, boating and fishing trips for all. If you’re looking to snag a big catch this summer or simply cruise the ocean to get a closer look at the magnificent sea creatures, the Jersey coast is your summer destination.
With the plethora of water activities to choose from including water skiing, dolphin and whale watching, parasailing, kayaking, fishing, cruising, nature boat tours and speed boat rides—visitors have their choice when it comes to having fun in the sun out on the high seas. Whether you prefer to sail along the shoreline or navigate through back bays, these local establishments are happy to help you plan the perfect sea-faring day.
– Veronica Dudo
Bay Cats Kayaks & Catamarans
316 Bay Avenue
Ocean City, NJ 08226
Bay Cats Kayaks & Catamarans in Ocean City offers patrons the opportunity to rent kayaks, sailboats, standup paddleboards and catamarans. Whether it’s just you or your entire family, looking to do some exploring through the back bays of Ocean City; renters can depart right from the Bay Cats dock. Employees are on hand to offer basic paddling instructions, suggest routes and make sure you’re supplied with everything you need. Once you ready, you can load up a single, double or triple kayak along with life jackets, kayak seats and paddles.
For the avid kayaker, a season pass is available so you can go kayaking as much as you like. The pass allows unlimited use of Bay Cats’ Hobie Kayaks for an entire year for $150.00 starting the day of your purchase.
To experience the shore like never before, go on a guided nature tour for groups of around 20 people.
Bay Cats offers guided nature tours which have quickly become a popular selection. Passengers can see all that nature has to offer at the Jersey Shore up close and personal.
Looking to cruise the waters, but don’t have the knowledge and experience? Bay Cats also offers sailboat rides on Hobie Catamarans steered by a Captain and able to take five to six people. For an hour and a half, the cost is a little under $200.
The marina where the store is located was built in 1939; originally selling gas and bait, renting small fishing skiffs. Since 1974, Bay Cats Kayaks & Catamarans has been a green company and last year was voted the most environmentally-friendly business by Ocean City’s Chamber of Commerce.
Bay Cats says they proudly uphold their tradition of “helping folks enjoy sailing in New Jersey” running water activities May thru September, open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Jessie O’ Fishing and Cruising
9317 Amherst Avenue
Margate, NJ 08402
With years of experience, Captain Jay and his crew will attend to your every need to ensure a memorable excursion. Departing from Captain Andy’s Marina, the Jessie O’ Fishing & Cruising Fleet is comprised of two boats offering two very different types of trips. The Jessie O’ II is a spacious and stable 65 foot boat that heads out to the ocean for deep sea fishing and Fish N’ Fun is a 45 foot back bay pontoon boat.
The Jessie O’ II is licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard for up to 110 passengers. For a six hour deep sea fishing trip aboard the Jessie O’ II, Friday through Monday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., the price for an adult is $60; senior citizens and military personnel $55 and kids under the age of 12 are $45.
For an eight-hour deep sea fishing trip Tuesday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., adults are $65; Senior Citizens and Military personnel $60 and kids under the age of 12 are $50.
The Fish N’ Fun is licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard for up to 42 passengers. Captain Jay reminds interested boaters, “there is no sea sickness in the bay!” Plenty of shade and a restroom on the pontoon boat provide comfortable fishing for everyone. Light snacks and soft drinks are available for sale on board.
For a four hour back bay fishing trip on the Fish N’ Fun from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. or 1 p.m. until 5 p.m., rates for adults are $25; Senior Citizens and Military personnel are $20 and kids under the age of 12 are $15. Bait and fishing instructions are included. Rods, tackle and fish cleaning are available. Rod rentals are $5.00.
For Evening Bay Cruises, from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. rates for adults are $17; Senior Citizens and Military personnel are $14 and kids under the age of 12 are $12.
People without reservations can join the daily open boat excursion, schedule group charters for birthdays or bachelor/bachelorette party’s. Evening cruises and dolphin watching are also available as well as catering and DJ packages.
Historic Gardener’s Basin
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Come aboard Atlantic City Cruises’ flagship vessel Cruisn 1 for daily sightseeing and dolphin watching trips, cocktail cruises, private parties or corporate outings. Cruises are offered mid May through October and depart from both Historic Gardner’s Basin and the Farley State Marina. An enclosed portion of the main deck has a bar and galley, along with wide panoramic windows, carpeting, upholstered seating, and a full walk-around deck with outside seating. The upper deck has seats around the perimeter and can be fully enclosed for dining, dancing, entertaining or meetings. The enclosed upper deck and lower decks are also heated to accommodate cruises year round.
Begin your day by embarking on the Morning Skyline Cruise at 11 a.m. departing from Historic Gardener’s Basin. This refreshing voyage along the ocean has views of the Atlantic City skyline and is narrated providing historical information and panoramic views.
For marine mammal lovers, join the Dolphin Watching Adventure which departs from Historic Gardener’s Basin at 1 p.m. People of all ages will enjoy beautiful views and glimpses of dolphins jumping out of the water or swimming in pods.
The Afternoon Delight Cruise departing from Historic Gardener’s Basin at 4 p.m. is perfect for the whole family. Sailing the ocean, inlet and back bays, boaters can watch fisherman reel in their fish and commercial crabbers harvest their catch.
The Happy Hour Cruise departs from the Trump Marina at 6 p.m. and is a great way to end the day and start your evening. This cruise is calm and relaxing as it journeys through the marinas and back bays of Atlantic City. Ideal for groups, this scenic cruise provides the perfect setting to relax on-board as patrons enjoy sipping cocktails or fruity frozen drinks available at the full service bars. The Happy Hour Cruise also features nightly drink specials and half-price beer and wine.
The DJ Dance Party Cruise departs from Historic Gardener’s Basin at 8 p.m. and offers guests the opportunity to party at sea under the moon and stars. While cruising the waters of Atlantic City and Brigantine Beach, the DJ keeps the party going playing music from the 70’s to current hits. Specialty cocktails and a full bar selection are available for purchase.
Fares vary depending on the cruise and age.
Hang Loose Parasail
1044 W Rio Grande Blvd
Wildwood New Jersey
Prepare yourself for an extreme shore activity which offers a unique experience! Hang Loose Parasail takes you for a ride as you hang about 500 feet over the beach and ocean. Surprisingly once you’re in the air it’s a calm environment away from all the hustle and bustle of a busy shore resort.
Hang Loose Parasail has a custom manufactured parasail boat that reels participants on and off the boat using a hydraulically controlled winch for safe, dry takeoffs and landings. No experience is necessary, as the captain and crew take care of getting “fliers” up in the air and back down to the ground. Understanding that some fliers may not want to get wet, the crew is able to keep participants dry during takeoffs and landings as long as they are notified.
According to Hang Loose Parasail, all of their captains have received training in a USCG approved captain training facility, met all of the USCG captain requirements, are licensed captains and belong to the Professional Association of Parasail Operators PAPO. In addition all captains have valid first aid and CPR certifications.
Fliers can go up by themselves; as a pair, which is called a tandem flight or in a group of three. The round trip is one and a half hours long consisting of a tandem flight lasting 10 to 12 minutes, individual flights around eight minutes and triples are slightly longer.
Hang Loose Parasail launches their boats from Simmons’ Pier at the foot of the George Redding Bridge, on Route 47 in Wildwood, New Jersey.
At Hang Loose Parasail they say parasailing “is simply a must for anyone looking for an adrenaline rush of relaxation!”
Cape May Whale Watcher
890 2nd Avenue
Cape May, NJ 08204
Whale and dolphin watching has a rich history in Cape May. Captain Henry Hudson sailed into Cape May in 1609 and according to the log books of his ship the “Half Moon” he encountered herds of dolphins and massive whales feeding on a countless bounty of fish in the virgin estuary of Delaware Bay. Now, the Cape May Whale Watcher has two boats that take passengers out to see for themselves all the beauty the sea has to offer.
The Cape May Fleet includes the Spirit of Cape May, a 110 foot long vessel measuring 28 feet wide. It has two large decks, cabin seating for 100, and a capacity of 405 passengers. Inside the Cabin is a large bar area and the boat has both air conditioning and heat. The Cape May Whale Watcher, is over 110 feet in length, 23 feet wide, has two decks, cabin seating for 80 passengers and a capacity of 300 passengers. The cabin also has a large bar area with air conditioning and heat.
“Cetacean Spectacular” is a three hour whales and dolphin watch. Departing from the Miss Chris Marina at 1PM, Captain Jeff and his seasoned crew will take passengers into the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The Delaware Bay Estuary is considered home to many species of marine life thanks to the combination of fresh and salt water which creates a nutrient rich area known for whale and dolphin activity. The excursion is narrated by the Captain who will explain local history and point out marine life. Rates for adults are $40 and children ages 7-12 are$ 25.
“Around Cape May” welcomes passengers aboard the Cape May Whale Watcher as the vessel cruises around the island of Cape May, NJ with views of Victorian homes, the Cape May Lighthouse and other landmarks. The Captain narrates the tour with historical facts provided by the Mid- Atlantic Center for the Arts. Also, along the way, passengers will see dolphins in their natural environment while learning about their habits. This boat is referred to as the “comfortable super cruiser” and includes a continental breakfast. Fare rates are $30 for adult and $20 for children age 7-12.
Other cruises include: “Delaware Bay Lighthouse Cruise Adventure,” “History Cruise,” “Around Cape Island Dolphin Watch and Sunset Cruise” and “Prime Rib Buffet Dinner Cruise.”
In season, the Cape May Whale Watcher sails daily, 10AM and 6:30PM for a two-hour dolphin watch and 1PM for a three-hour whale and dolphin watch.
The Cape May Whale Watcher and Spirit of Cape May are both 110 foot ships designed specifically for whale watching.
Stormin Speed Boat Ride
3rd & Bay
Ocean City, NJ
Make a reservation on the Stormin Speed Boat and get ready for a wild ride! Hold on to your hats and sunglasses as you experience the wind in your hair, the sun on your face and the smell of fresh salt-water while speeding along the waters at the Jersey Shore. This exhilarating speed boat ride enjoyed by people of all ages is also a dolphin watch with music, super soaker water guns for kids and lots of views of Ocean City.
The action packed thrill ride and dolphin watch, takes place aboard this 33 foot high powered custom designed offshore catamaran. With seating up to 14 passengers, groups of family and friends can safely join in on the fun and excitement of a speedboat together.
The captains and crew are U.S. Coast Guard licensed and strive to provide guests with entertaining 45 minute thrill rides along the shoreline of Ocean City, known as “America’s Family Resort.” In addition to beautiful views and dolphin sightings, you never know what other marine life you may encounter or what types of birds may soar in the sky above. From the sandy beach to the back Bay, this Stormin Speed Boat ride “will make a wave of its own that you won’t want to miss.”
Daily rides run from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. every hour, on the hour and reservations are required; passengers must be at least three years old to ride.
Also, tickets are available to view Ocean City’s spectacular firework show from the water on the 4th of July, by booking the Stormin Speed Boat or renting the entire boat to decorate however you’d like for Ocean City’s annual Night in Venice Boat Parade. Private charters are also available.
Take a spin on the water and check out the Stormin Speed Boat, it’s an adventure passengers will remember long after leaving the shore.
3rd & Bay Avenue
Ocean City, NJ 08226
No shore town would be complete without its thrilling water sport activities and Wet ‘N Wild in Ocean City offers outdoor enthusiasts a tidal wave of fun at the Jersey Shore.
Jet Ski and waverunner rentals are available at Wet ‘N Wild, which is open seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. For over a decade Wet ‘N Wild has been operating on Ocean City’s back Bay, renting premier Personal Watercrafts (PWC) to customers. The staff will assist guests from the moment they arrive until the end of their ride. The company’s goal is to provide an amazing water experience for both the drivers and passengers.
Whether you are experienced or just a beginner, the staff at Wet ‘N Wild will explain to you the proper procedures so you can have a memorable ride. Once you make a reservation, arrive 15 to 20 minutes before your scheduled rental time. Parking is available in their off-street lot. Sign-in and pay at the bright green ticket booth; all drivers must bring a valid U.S. drivers license. Next, put on a life jacket; receive hands-on training from the staff and then head out for your ride! No matter what your skill level is, customers only leave the dock when they feel confident, comfortable and safe on their rental. All riders are patrolled by trained staff members.
Once out on the water, employees are nearby to answer any last minute questions, help with any problems or concerns and observe patrons to make sure they’re in control and safely operating the watercraft. The staff guides customers out to a riding area and then assists them back onto the dock.
Experience a ride of a life time and enjoy these fun warm weather activities as you shred through the waters of the beautiful back bays.
Veronica Dudo is an award-winning journalist who has covered everything from breaking news to red carpet celebrity interviews. For more information on her work, click here.