Asbury Park Press article on Smith announcement'The 25-passenger limit was lifted on party boats but operators are far from a return to normal'
BY DAN RADEL, APP Staff Writer
The boats are still required to maintain a six-foot social distance space between anglers, plus must continue to comply with all public health measures in accordance with Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive orders prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Still, the ease of the restrictions will mean party boat owners can put a few more people on their boats as the industry gears up for the summer season.
Captain William Egerter of the Dauntless party boat in Point Pleasant Beach, said he’s had to send quite a few of his long-time customers home this spring. He said it’s been hard to do that because many of them have been fishing on his boat for years and the sea bass fishing has been excellent.
“Our regular trade can’t even get on the boat. The fishing has been phenomenal and they want to go out.” Egerter said,
The boats were shut down when much of the state came to a standstill in March with the threat of the pandemic.
On May 16, Murphy allowed the boats to operate again but with just 10 passengers. A week later he increased the limit to 25.
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who did much advocating for the boats said ease or restrictions will give this “industry, as well as the related businesses such as bait & tackle shops, a fighting chance to recover more quickly and fully.”
“I want to thank Governor Murphy for lifting these restrictions and re-opening this vital part of the Shore economy,” Smith said.This article ran on page B2 in the June 17, print edition of the Asbury Park Press and can be found online at several news sites, including: