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Ocean County Christens Its Sixth Pumpout Boat, Celebrates Program

'Bay Defender' is docked in Brick Township; Barnegat Bay legend "Pete" McLean remembered

The Bay Defender pumpout boat, based in Brick Township, N.J. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
The Bay Defender pumpout boat, based in Brick Township, N.J. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Ocean County has officially added its sixth boat to its pumpout boat program, with the Bay Defender being christened in Brick Township on Friday.

The new boat, which is operated by Brick Township and funded through state and federal grant dollars, is a 23-foot boat with a 420 gallon holding tank that is free for boaters to use all season long.

The pumpout boat program in Ocean County is now in its 17th year, officials say, and was the first of its kind in New Jersey. The pumpout boats – all center console boats about 23 feet in length – come with large tanks that accept waste from the toilet tanks of other boats. After collecting the waste, the pumpout boats return to port where they are hooked into the regular city sewer system and emptied.

The Bay Defender, captained by Harry M. Thorne, will join the Bay Saver at Traders Cove Marina in Brick. The fleet includes two other boats docked in Seaside Park and two more docked at the Tuckerton Seaport. The combined fleet serves the entire Barnegat Bay areas from Brick to Tuckerton and Little Egg Harbor.

"We do, on an average day, around 30 boats, or 900 to 1,000 gallons," said Capt. George Ward, who operates one of the Tuckerton boats.

Boaters who utilize the free service range from larger boats that are away from their usual ports, transient boats coming up the intracoastal waterway and local recreational boaters, Ward said.

"Awareness has definitely increased a lot," said Ward. "This year we're down a little bit, but that might be because of the economy."

David J. McKeon, director of the Ocean County Planning Department, said the pumpout program, in many ways, came to fruition due to the hard work of Paul D. "Pete" McLean, who died last month.

McLean, a deputy director of the state Division of Fish and Wildlife, saw similar programs in Chesapeake Bay and other areas and decided to cut through the red tape to bring a similar program to Barnegat Bay.

"The idea came about when he said, 'we really ought to operate a mobile pumpout boat off Tices Shoal,'" said McKeon. "There were so many boats there, some of them stay overnight, and we knew what was happening with their wastewater tanks."

With McLean's help, the county secured federal funding under the Clean Water Act and partnered with host municipalities up and down the bay.

“The success and strength of the program is built on the ongoing cooperation of the state, county and participating municipalities,” Freeholder Director Joseph Vicari said. “The program provides numerous environmental benefits as all the agencies involved work to preserve and protect Barnegat Bay.”

The boats – including the new Bay Defender – began operating Memorial Day weekend and run through the end of September. They operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays through Mondays and can be accessed through VHF Radio Channel 9 or through the host agencies.
Mac June 27, 2014 at 05:06 PM
not bad for $90,000 plus - btw, is the captain's potty hidden under his bench seat?

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