By Joe Holden

GLOUCESTER CITY, N.J.(CBS) — Along the Delaware River, there is a heated debate over who and what should be allowed to be there.

All’s quiet along the Delaware — a lazy Monday by the river, but below the surface, a thorny back-and-forth has splashed into public view. It’s believed that improved water quality on the Delaware River will bring boaters and kayakers out in droves, potentially presenting security challenges in the river’s shipping lanes.

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“The biggest concern is that the mariners aboard, especially large cargo ships — they can’t see them necessarily and so they can’t take evasive action,” said Lisa Himber with the Philadelphia Maritime Exchange.

The Philadelphia Maritime Exchange, a trade group representing commercial river operators, sent letters to local legislators outlining concerns.

“We’re not trying to keep people out of the water altogether,” Himber said. “We just want them to stay away from the commercial shipping, the main navigation channels where the large ships operate and the regulated marine terminals.”

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Local boaters were surprised to hear an agency had caution flags up.

“I have not found it to be a problem whatsoever,” Schooner North Wind Captain Scott Hughes said.

“Any group of kayakers is pretty well regulated and they don’t have the crazies coming out here and trying to do it themselves,” boater Gregg Marselles said.

And in a wait a minute moment, the Delaware Riverkeeper bristled at any suggestion the mere presence of recreational activities on the river should somehow be subject to debate.

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“They are still suggesting that those who are enjoying the river for recreation are somehow doing something wrong or are somehow compromising the other users of the river,” Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum said.