Tony Hoffman, a United States Coast Guard licensed captain, brings more than 35 years of fishing experience to his charter boat company. During guided fishing trips, he escorts groups out on the back bays and instructs them in the basics of fishing using on-board rods. The action takes place on the Family Fisherman, a 40-foot pontoon boat equipped with an open-air deck, a state-of-the-art stereo system, and the busts of famous bluefish. Passengers can cast a line at flounder, sea bass, and small sand sharks, enjoying views of the glistening New Jersey bays along the way.
Nimbus Flyboarding's personal watercraft contraptions are pretty much designed for one thing: delivering an adrenaline rush. The jetpack-like devices propel users with a powerful stream of water, sending them diving headlong beneath the water or soaring up to 60 feet in the air to hear the secret songs birds sing when they think they're out of human earshot. Though the whole thing can seem a little overwhelming at first, beginners shouldn't fret: according to the owner of Nimbus Flyboarding, most people pick up the basics within minutes.
Equipped with GPS, radar, and electronic fish-finding technology, you wouldn't think the Capt. Robbins is more than 60 years old. Rainbow Deep Sea Fishing's captain Victor Hartley purchased the storied vessel in 2011 and refurbished it the next year. The acquisition was a homecoming of sorts, as Hartley once worked on the ship as a child. Today, the Capt. Robbins ferries up to 125 passengers on fishing trips off the shores of New Jersey.
Not many restaurants run a jet ski business from the back of the eatery. But De Lazy Lizard Bar and Grill is a unique establishment that also runs Lizard Water Sports, an outdoor water recreation destination dedicated to jet skiing. Here, customers can rent a motorized watercraft to glide across the waters at varying speeds before returning to the restaurant to sample burgers and swap stories about racing dolphins that also rented jet-skis.
While waiting for a group of tour participants aboard his kayak on Cape Island Creek, Bob Lubberman made a new acquaintance when a 4-foot great blue heron landed on the nose of his boat. It's not an entirely new experience for the owner of Miss Chris Kayak Rentals and Tours, as opportunities to commune with nature came often as he crabbed and fished as a child from his grandmother's dock. Now he's able to connect visitors to this ecosystem as they independently paddle rented sit-on-top kayaks or as they participate in guided kayak or boat tours.
Paddlers on kayak tours often catch close-ups of ospreys, terns, and other birds, and see diamondback terrapin turtles sunning themselves on the shore or trying to hold their own ice-cream cones. Day and sunset tours let guests explore the wildlife-rich salt marshes, and night tours led during high tide let them paddle over grassy terrain to otherwise inaccessible areas. Guests explore similar territory on tours aboard the Osprey as they watch migrating shore birds or look out on the harbor's historic buildings. Kayak tour guides include an associate naturalist and a Cape May Bird Observatory field associate, and land-based staffers maintain a touch tank on the Miss Chris mooring dock, which they temporarily fill with conches, eels, and other sea life pulled up using open-sided conservation traps.
The ships that comprise Starlight Fleet's squadron of vessels each transport passengers across the waves on a variety of sea adventures. The Starlight ferries fisherman on four-hour excursions to hook sea bass, flounder, croakers and triggerfish, the captain using sonar, GPS, and a knowledge of the currents to identify prime fishing real estate. The Atlantic Star typically serves as a whale-watching vessel and is kitted out with a snack-filled galley and a touch tank filled with horseshoe crabs and other local sea life.
The company even boasts its very own pirate ship, The Dark Star, a custom-designed vessel built by Naval Architect Michael LeMole. It takes passengers on swashbuckling adventures during which they learn what a swash is and how to buckle it, as well as participate in treasure hunts and face painting.