May 23, 2016
Long Beach Island’s borough of Ship Bottom has almost mythical origins.
As legend has it — and Ship Bottom’s municipal website — in March 1817, Capt. Stephen Willets and his schooner crew were sailing north along LBI in a dense fog when they came upon the hull of a capsized ship in shallow water. a Ship Bottom historian described the scene, like this:
“Corpses hung from the rigging and bobbed in the frigid sea. As one of Willets' men climbed onboard the beached schooner, he heard a noise under his feet--someone tapping the inside of the barnacled hull.
“With an ax, Willets chopped a hole in the ship's bottom near the keel and, after much struggling, freed the young woman trapped inside. She spoke no English. But after being taken ashore, she expressed her gratitude by drawing a cross of thanks in the sand. No one knows her name or the name of the ship because they were never recorded. But the place of the shipwreck and the rescue became known as ‘Ship Bottom.’”
Beach tags — or beach badges, if you prefer — are required on Ship Bottom’s ocean and bayside beaches. Seasonal tags purchased prior to May 31 cost $30, after that date they increase to $40. Seniors (65 and older) can purchase seasonal beach badges for $10 at Ship Bottom Borough Hall, 1621 Long Beach Blvd. with proof of age.
Weekly beach tags are $20 and daily tags are $7.
Beach tags can be purchased via the mail using this form or can be picked up at Borough Hall weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on weekends through May, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Beginning June 18 beach badges will be available for pick-up at Ship Bottom Beach Patrol Headquarters, 124 E. 26th Street.
The Ship Bottom Beach Patrol guards the borough’s beaches 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily during the season.
No dogs are allowed on the beaches between May 1 and Oct. 1, and alcohol is not allowed on the beach at any time.
Surfing only is permitted in designated areas while lifeguards are on duty. For more information about Ship Bottom’s surfing beaches, call the beach patrol at 609-494-9481.
Street parking is available, but motorists must follow rules and restrictions posted on signs.
The highlights of the summer include the Ship Bottom Summer Sizzle, hosted by the Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Company and the Free Summer Concerts at Waterfront Park, 10th Street and Shore Avenue, each Thursday at 7 p.m.
More events in Ship Bottom are listed here.