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Party and Charter Boats

NOTE: There have been reports of catches of sea run brown trout on party and charter boats. (These fish tend to develop a more silvery coloration, masking most of the body spots after an extended time in salt water.) Please report catches of any sea run browns to the Pequest Trout Hatchery at 908-637-4173 or the Lebanon Field Office at 908-236-2118.
Party/Charter Boat Facet of the Striped Bass Bonus Program Suspended - 6/8/12

The Division maintains a directory of New Jersey party and charter boats offer year-round adventure on the state’s bay and ocean waters. Party and charter boats let you take advantage of the skill and knowledge of experienced captains and well-equipped vessels at a reasonable cost. All party and charter boats are inspected and licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard for the passenger’s safety; all captains are qualified and licensed. (Captains wishing to have their boats listed should use the application form.)

New Jersey’s extensive fleet consists of about 100 party and over 300 charter boats which are docked in ports at all the major ocean inlets and bays. The basic difference between the two types of boats is that passengers on a party boat pay individually as they board on a first come basis until the boat is filled, while a charter must be reserved in advance by a group of passengers.

Party boats are large vessels, ranging from 60 to over 100 feet in length, that carry anywhere from 20 to 150 passengers. They provide anglers with the ability to go fishing at almost any time with no advanced planning, thus allowing them to go when the fish are running. Party boats sail on a daily schedule for designated species. Bait is provided and rods, reels and tackle may be rented onboard. The cost of the trip is dependent upon the type of fishing or activity; for example, bluefishing, which usually requires a long run and large amounts of chum and bait, is slightly more expensive than inshore wreck or bottom fishing. Children’s fares are usually discounted.

Most ports have several party boats, offering a variety of different types of fishing. There are full, half and three-quarter day, morning, afternoon, evening and night trips available. Some party boats feature special long-distance trips for tuna, tilefish, cod or whale watching. Such trips usually require advanced reservations.

Charter boats are typically smaller in size, between 25 to 60 feet in length. While most charter boats carry a maximum of 6 to 8 anglers, others carry much larger groups. Many party boats can also be reserved for large group charters. The primary advantage of a charter is that you can reserve the entire boat for a selected group. The trip fee varies considerably, depending upon the length of the trip and fuel and bait expenses. All bait and tackle is supplied on charter boats. Some boats will arrange to cater food if requested.

NJ Party and Charter Boat Directory 2000 with 2001-2014 Additions (pdf, 370kb)
Party/Charter Boat Directory Application Form (pdf, 8kb)

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: January 31, 2014