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ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – Enthusiasm is mounting for Saturday’s SOS  Sea of Solidarity water parade of charter and head boats sailing out of the Atlantic Highlands Yacht Harbor and other sites, organizer Capt. Dan Schade of Classic Boat Rides said this week.

The Solidarity, which sets sail at noon from the Harbor will travel the Shrewsbury River past Highlands and into Sea Bright (to the Sea Bright Rumson Bridge) before making a return trip, anticipating a 3 p.m. return to the harbor. The SOS is geared primarily to raise awareness of the plight of the charter and head boat industry during Covid19. (and to prompt recommendations and solutions from state government to allow us to carry passengers again)- some suggestions from Capt. Schade mentioned below.

None of the captains can operate during the shutdown of business, and Schade, in preparation for an opening, is urging boat owners to suggest a variety of procedures and a solution that will enable the industry to return to service.

Schade is captain of the Mariner and Navesink Queen, two charter boats that sail the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers, both as fund raisers for independent nonprofit organizations as well as for historic tours and general entertainment and recreation. Several other boats have already signed up to join the parade on the water, including head boats the Sea Tiger, the Little Hawk and Bingo, together with the Festiva, the first boats to enlist in the Solidarity display. Others who signed on this week include the Dorothy B, Hyper Stryper and Fisher Price, with more still finalizing plans, including the Sea Hunter, Prowler and Tagged Fish.

Because of the pandemic and state regulations, passengers will  not be allowed to be on the boats for the parade, Schade said, but boat captains and their crews are looking forward to waving to folks along the shore line (keeping social distance of course).  Expect to hear lots of nautical bells, whistles and horns from the boats.  They hope to see displays along the riverfront from people happy to see activity on the Shrewsbury.

If approved to re-open, Schade said current conditions would most likely  require all aboard to wear masks or suitable face coverings, abundant hand sanitizer would be located throughout the vessel and well-marked for use.  In addition to the required crew, Classic Boat Rides would also have at least one extra designated crew member to ensure passengers keep wearing protective face coverings.  This extra crew member would also sanitize the heads (bathrooms) after each use and wipe down all cabin tables before and after each use.  Only a limited number of passengers (dependent upon a square footage calculation) would be allowed in the confined spaces at one time for food or refreshments which would require maintaining a 6-foot social distance.

Most of the time passengers would be outside in the fresh air.  Other sensible guidelines that meet the latest CDC recommendations would also be implemented, and  all suggestions could be relaxed or modified in keeping with the latest state government recommendations as the COVID19 infection rate begins to subside.  

For further information on the Parade, or to inquire about joining in or acknowledging crews along the way, contact Capt. Dan at 732-337-9292 or their website www.ClassicBoatRides.com 

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