The Memorial Day Weekend “party” got off to a great start last Friday, when New Jersey governor Phil Murphy announced at his daily press briefing that he was loosening restrictions on the number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings and certain outdoor activities, including party boat fishing.
Just after 11 a.m. on May 22, the governor said that New Jersey’s headboats could carry up to 25 passengers, which offers captains and crews aboard the larger Coast Guard inspected vessels to sail with enough patrons onboard to make financial sense. The allowance comes less than a week following the governor’s press briefing on May 16 that allowed charter boats to begin sailing with up to 10 passengers the following day.
Passengers looking to fish with a charter or headboat this week will need to adhere to certain policies established by the governor’s office due to the COVID-19 crisis, including social distancing measures on the vessels and in waiting and boarding areas and the wearing of masks while aboard the vessel. The governor’s order also prohibits sharing of fishing equipment, bait, and gear, limiting the use of nets or gaffs to the crew, and strict infection control and hygiene practices carried out by the captain and crew.
Those looking to climb aboard a for-hire boat to fish will be required to pay by credit card via telephone or electronic reservation to reduce elements of human contact.