Why there is No Speed Limit on Barnegat Bay

Save Barnegat Bay has consistently urged that there be some speed limit on Barnegat Bay. The NJ Boat Regulation Commission, the Marine Police, and the NJ Performance Powerboat Club have consistently prevailed in their opposition. Read some history…

Save Barnegat Bay’s account of the:
January 8, 2003 Boat Regulation Commission Meeting:

The opportunity to create a speed limit on Barnegat Bay experienced a serious setback on Wednesday, January 8, 2003 when New Jersey’s Boat Regulation Commission, meeting at State Police Headquarters in West Trenton, voted to withdraw their proposal for a thirty mile per hour speed limit on inshore tidal waters. The Commission instead decided to make minor revisions to “slow speed no wake buoys” and to urge the Legislature to require licensing and enhanced boater education.

The Commission announced its decision at the openning of the hearing and then allowed the public to comment.

Save Barnegat Bay strongly objects to this move by the Boat Regulation Commission, which we see as a betrayal of public safety and of the public interest in favor of a small number of reckless boat operators.

The Boat Regulation Commissiom Chairman portrayed the conflict over a speed limit as a dispute between sailors and powerboat operators only. In truth, this is a conflict between a small group of reckless powerboat operators and the overwhelming majority of law abiding powerboat operators, sailors, crabbers, fishermen, kayakers, canoeists, and swimmers.

The Commission received an overwhelming quantity of letters in favor of a speed limit, which it ignored. The most vocal element of the crowd at the Trenton meeting, however, was strongly opposed to a speed limit, as the New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club turned out impressively and in force.

Only a spokesman for Save Barnegat Bay and a small handful of others expressed support. Although the Commission openned by stating that slow speed no wake areas would be significantly increased, they retreated from that position over the course of the hearing. They indicated that the Borough of Mantoloking would likely be denied its request to have the length of its waterfront posted slow speed no wake.

It is notable that of approximately twenty performance powerboaters who testified, two volunteered that they had been involved in fatal accidents. Each insisted, however, that speed was not a factor in his particular case.

Although Save Barnegat Bay supports licensing and education, we see them as inadequate to deal with the crisis on the Bay, which will only get worse as our area’s population increases. We fear that it will take some terrible tragedy before our public officials finally find the courage to stand up for common sense, the environment, and the public interest.

Save Barnegat Bay will continue to explore methods of ameliorating the problem of speeding powerboats.


Read Save Barnegat Bay’s testimony.

Frequently Asked Questions about a Speed Limit.

The NJ Performance Powerboat Club has been a vigorous and successful opponent of a speed limit on the bay.


If your day is being ruined by speeding or noisy boats, call:

Marine Police – Atlantic City Station

Marine Police – West Creek Substation

Marine Police – Pt Pleasant Station

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