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Sheriff's Office

Marine Unit

The Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Marine Services Unit (MSU) patrols the Barnegat Bay and its tributaries from The Manasquan Inlet to Little Egg Harbor, out to three miles into the Atlantic Ocean. We enforce laws and regulations that include, criminal, boating, navigation, environmental, and fish and game on the waterways. We perform search, rescue, and recovery operations in addition to responding to boaters in distress, fire, emergency medical, and HAZMAT calls. We also patrol areas of critical infrastructures which include bridges and the waterways surrounding the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generation plant.

In addition, MSU has a working partnership with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and Save Barnegat Bay. We assist these organizations by patrolling and educating boaters of the Sedge Island Marine Conservation Zone, and the numerous environmentally sensitive areas (ESA) located throughout the Barnegat Bay. These are areas of submerged aquatic vegetation which provide shelter and food for wildlife, and improve the overall ecology of the bay. The ESA have suffered significant damage from vessel traffic, particularly Jet Ski traffic, and need an opportunity to recover.

We value all of our county residents and visitors, as well. We want everyone on the water to have safe and fun experience. That begins with education and being courteous to others. Together we can make our waterways safer and cleaner for everyone. Please take a moment and explore our attachments and take advantage of the valuable information they have to offer.

Common Violations

In course of their boat patrols, MSU crews make contact with many boaters for various violations of NJ’s boating and navigational laws. While the crew have the authority to issues summonses for these violations, MSU officers most often find it better to educate boaters how to properly and safely operate their vessels. These are some of the violations we commonly encounter.


Every vessel must carry one properly fitted PFD for each person onboard, including stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, and canoes.

Children 12 years and younger must wear a properly fitted PFD, while the boat is underway, and when outside an enclosed cabin.

When riding a personal watercraft (PWC) all passengers must wear a properly fitted and secured PFD. If the PFD is unbuckled or unzipped it is the same as not wearing a PFD at all.


Remember, no wake when passing:
  1. 200 feet of a marina, pier, dock, or wharf.
  2. Under any bridge in Ocean County.
  3. Through lagoons, canals or confined areas less than 200 feet in width.
  4. Within 200 feet of a no wake barrel or buoy.
  5. Also, when operating a PWC, no wake within 100 feet of people swimming, and any natural shoreline!!!!


  1. You must have an orange triangular ski flag at least 4 feet from the highest structure on the vessel.
  2. A competent person must be onboard to observe the skier/tuber
  3. In order to tow a skier or tube, PWC must be rated to accommodate at least 3 people.
  4. This provides adequate room for: 1 skier/tuber, 1 spotter, and 1 operator (driver) only


DO NOT allow anyone to ride in a way that may put them in danger of falling overboard. Keep limbs inside the boat!!


  1. Please remember to bring your boater safety certificate and the vessel’s valid registration card with you.
  2. Do not operate, or let someone else operate without a boater safety certificate.

Thank you. Be safe and enjoy!