With post-Sandy dredging clearing Barnegat Bay of storm shoals, boating enthusiasts are starting up the bay’s powerboat racing season and holding the first-ever Long Beach Island Boat Parade this weekend.
The Jersey Outlaws are bringing their unique speed garveys — high-powered versions of the traditional baymen’s work boat — and Jersey speed skiffs to the Parktown public docks in Little Egg Harbor on Sunday starting at noon. On Saturday, the LBI Boat Parade will start at the Brant Beach Yacht Club and proceed up the bayside of the island to the Surf City Yacht Club.
Organizers of the race and the parade said they want to revitalize the boating scene after Sandy, and bring back boaters who suffered losses to their homes and vessels from the massive Oct. 29 bay surge.
“We want to get people back on the water,” said Jon Aneson of Beach Haven West in Stafford, a parade organizer. This first event is open to boaters from Long Beach Island yacht clubs and marinas, and part of its purpose is to promote boating safety to young people, Aneson said. As part of the event the Coast Guard Auxiliary will perform courtesy marine safety examinations, to check out boats and advise captains about safety improvements and equipment they need to get.
“This parade is a direct response effort to superstorm Sandy,” according to the organizers’ website, www.lbiboatparade.net.
“We want to play our role in rebuilding the bond between New Jersey’s island and mainland communities, as well as produce a new generation of safety-conscious boaters.”
Across the bay the next day, the Jersey Outlaws will start their summer race season. The nonprofit group’s races are free and open to the public, with T-shirt sales and other fundraising to benefit support groups for children with autism, and to benefit the Frog Pond School in Little Egg Harbor.
This season means a lot, said Kathleen Halbing of the club. Not only are they shut out from two of their favorite venues — Berkeley Island County Park and the Barnegat public docks still need storm repairs — but a lot of racers have been recovering from their own losses.
All of the club’s races will be held this summer at the east end of Parkertown Dock Road, off the east side of Route 9 just south of the My Three Sons Seafood and Produce market, Halbing said.
There is a sandy beach at the park, and spectators should bring lawn chairs, umbrellas or other sunshades. The Parkertown volunteer fire company will sell hot dogs and sodas, and the club’s emcees spin music between races. More information is available on the club website at www.jerseyoutlaws.com.