CLASSIC BOAT RIDES CELEBRATES NEW ADDITION TO MARITIME FLEET AND EXPANDS SERVICE TO MOLLY PITCHER IN RED BANK WITH ‘THE AMAZING LADY JILL’
“Life’s a Journey, enjoy the Voyage – On a Classic Boat Ride!” Captain Dan Schade
Classic Boat Rides, a family-operated boat charter company specializing in private charters for events such as family celebrations, birthdays, graduations, group social outings, non-profit fundraisers & business events, is celebrating a new addition to the fleet. ‘The Amazing Lady Jill,’ built in 1960, is a 24-foot Hubert Johnson Blackjack model which departs from the Molly Pitcher Inn, Red Bank, NJ.
The vessel is available for both hotel guests and the general public and carries a maximum of six passengers, sailing a route along the Navesink River. Additional pick-up points can be added by special arrangement.
Classic Boat Rides is owned by Captain Dan & Vicky Schade, a dynamic duo who manage the day-to-day operations of the business and are especially proud of their newest addition. Vicky also serves as ‘First Mate’ and is always the friendly face greeting passengers. “When we purchased the boat, there were no decks or engine, but now she is restored to her former glory with a new motor, varnish and teak decks,” stated Captain Dan.
In The Beginning
Classic Boat Rides started in 2004 with the restoration of a 1958 Chris Craft docked in Highlands, NJ. Captain Dan laughed as he recalled giving 20-minute boat rides for Jay Cosgrove and his guests at Bahr’s Landing. Those short rides, however, were the springboard for the purchase of a much bigger boat, ‘The Mum Runner,’ a beautiful 28-foot wooden skiff. She was built in Keyport, NJ by famous boat builder Olaf Olsen and became a sentimental favorite amongst tourists and locals alike. Captain Dan added musical entertainment to the open public charters – ‘Anchor Jams – and the business grew immensely in popularity. Captain Dan started making plans to relocate to Atlantic Highlands and search for even bigger boats.
The Journey – Where The Love Of Family Meets The Love Of Boating
Some people are able to combine a single, burning passion into a business and to be happy while doing well. Captain Dan has loved boating since he was 4 years old and took his first boat ride on the family’s plywood speedboat on the Raritan Bay. Living in the Leonardo section of Middletown, NJ and summer weekends with his aunt & uncle in Lake Hopatcong, NJ fueled his passion for boating even more. At the age of 10, he purchased his very first boat with paper route money, an 8-foot wooden pram with a 5 horsepower Buccaneer outboard.
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve just always loved boats,” Captain Dan noted, recalling the fun times he had with his family modifying little dinghies.
And Then There Were Three: The Fleet Grows
Classic Boat Rides is now a fleet of three: the Navesink Queen, an old-fashioned paddlewheel boat built in Deltaville, Virginia, won by auction in 2019 and massively restored; The Mariner, a one-of-a-kind wooden mid-size boat also built in Deltaville, Virginia on the Chesapeake Bay, and ‘The Amazing Lady Jill.’
The Navesink Queen is suitable for groups of 30 to 120 people. The Mariner is best for smaller groups of 6 to 40 people. Both boats are equipped with Bluetooth sound systems and a full-service bar. The Amazing Lady Jill is great for 6 passengers or less and offers an intimate boating experience along the river while viewing beautiful mansions and scenic interest.
What’s In A Name
A master storyteller with the spellbinding voice of a radio announcer, Captain Dan loves talking about how him and his wife Vicky named the boats. Vicky is from England, a country with a Queen (the late Queen Elizabeth II). The couple also likes cruising on the Navesink River and are big fans of the classic movie, The African Queen. “So with all the history, we chose ‘Navesink Queen.’ The boat, interestingly enough, was actually once named the ‘Elizabeth River Ferry’ and was operated as a passenger vessel. Vicky’s mother’s name was also Elizabeth,” Captain Dan explained. The naming of ‘The Amazing Lady Jill’ is
heartwarming as well as humorous and is the result of an answering machine message combined with a sign maker’s mistake. “You have reached ‘a fantastic lady’ was the message my mom Jill always had on her answering machine. So while I wanted to use the word ‘fantastic’ in the boat’s name, the sign maker mistakenly used ‘amazing’ instead. But it stuck, and we decided to go with it,” Captain Dan noted.
Waves Of Success
Steadily building through the years and surviving the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Captain Dan and wife Vicky are happier than ever. “To be honest, I had no idea when bringing her here that the Navesink Queen would have such massive appeal,” Captain Dan said.
Classic Boat Rides operates from April through the end of November. In April the private charters typically begin, while May marks the scheduling of the ever-popular public cruises and ‘Anchor Jams’ featuring top-notch local bands like Carl Gentry and Peanut Butter Bridges. In July, fireworks cruises allow for great up-close viewing. In October and November, Fall sightseeing & leaf-peeping cruises always sell out in addition to the very popular Steel Drums & BBQ cruises, Octoberfest, Local Beer Tasting cruises, and Sunday Funday, a kid-friendly cruise. Classic Boat Rides also offers burial at sea services.
The Navesink Queen is located at Frank’s Pier at Slip 65 (toward the end). The Mariner is located on Pier 1, Slip 3 (just to the left of the Charter Fishing Boats at Atlantic Highlands Marina). The Amazing Lady Jill is located at The Molly Pitcher Inn, 88 Riverside Avenue, Red Bank, NJ.
Information on chartering and cruising on all boats is available by contacting Classic Boat Rides by telephone at (732) 337-9292, by visiting the website at: www.classicboatrides.com or by using the contact form at: