New Jersey marina offers pontoon rentals

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New Jersey-based South Shore Marina is offering people who are experienced in motorboat operation an opportunity to rent a pontoon boat without having a state boating safety certificate.

Instead of taking a $65, eight-hour course and successfully completing a written exam to get the certificate to operate a motorboat, pontoon boat renters need only have some experience and sit through a 25-minute video approved by the New Jersey State Police before navigating on Greenwood Lake, according to The Record.

The rental program can help prospective boaters decide whether a pontoon boat is right for them or can be a substitute for those who aren’t willing to spend what is typically required to buy, maintain, transport, launch, dock and enjoy a boat — as well as complete the exam, Steven Bryan told the newspaper.

"You don't have to concern yourself with maintenance costs — just get out there and enjoy the lake. It's someone else's job to cover it when you get back, maintain it and gas it up," Bryan told the paper. "It's great for the person that doesn't have the time or the funds to own their own boat."

South Shore Marina’s charges range from $150 for two hours on a pontoon boat to $350 for an entire day out. Add $25 for the largest pontoon boat with a high-output motor because of its fuel consumption. Bryan said the program, which started because of an increased demand for rentals from day-trippers stopping at Greenwood Lake's southernmost marina, has been popular, with three or four parties coming out each weekend.

He recommends calling in advance, as the rentals — relatively new Sundancer pontoons in good condition — are occasionally accounted for by the time the weekend rolls around.

The available boats, 20- to 24-foot pontoons with 30 to 115 hp, sit eight people. Renters are restricted from bringing grills, pets, and alcohol onto the rentals, and fishing, skiing and tubing are prohibited. To enjoy those aspects of boating, renters have to become owners, Bryan said.

The marina also offers sailing instruction from Coast Guard-licensed captains.

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