The wealthy Jersey Shore town of Deal is charging $400 more this year to register and store catamarans on its beach, raising concerns among some beach-access advocates.
The borough’s commissioners raised the price of boat registration from $100 to $500 — a 400% hike — in November, according to borough records. However, the increase did not attract public attention until mid-June, when this season’s updated membership fees for the Deal Casino Beach Club, which is open to residents and non-residents, were posted on the borough website.
Deal also doubled its fee for kayak registration and storage from $50 to $100. It’s unclear why the borough decided to increase the fees.
Deal is a 1.3-square-mile community of multi-million dollar homes with a population of 900, according to the latest census data. It is located between Loch Arbour and Long Branch.
“It just seems like it’s exorbitant,” said John Weber, mid-Atlantic regional manager at the Surfrider Foundation, an environmental nonprofit dedicated to the protection and public enjoyment of oceans and beaches.
Deal is not the only municipality increasing rates. After the Belmar Marina reached capacity earlier this year, the mayor and council passed a resolution raising rental fees for dock slips.
The ordinances and exorbitant fees are likely to create a greater need for RV and boat storage facilities beyond existing marina storage. Increasing interest in outdoor recreation, especially for coastline communities that draw high boater population, validates the need for development of boat storage facilities in the area.