What if you built a marina and nobody came? or New Brunswick Landing

A few weeks ago I read an article in the Star Ledger about some new docks that have been constructed on the Raritan River in New Brunswick by Middlesex County in partnership with the City of New Brunswick. Apparently they spent $7 million of tax money obtained through Green Acres grants. to construct 12 slips capable of accommodating boats of up to 45′ in length.

You can see the whole story at:


Raritan River Looking Upstream from New Brunswick Landing


Having spent many hours on the Raritan River between Piscataway and Sayreville during my rowing days at Rutgers, my first thought was “There’s no water there at low tide.” My second thought was that it seems like an awfully long and winding trip from the mouth of the Raritan River to New Brunswick (but I’m generally in vessels powered either by sails or oars so maybe power boaters would view the situation differently).


I was in New Brunswick last Thursday for a business meeting and saw a variable message board on Route 18 announcing that the docks at Boyd Park were open for use – I had to check it out. What I found were some very attractive floating boat slips located just downstream of the Albany Street Bridge. I noticed that there was an additional channel marker near the docks. Previously, the channel had ended a few hundred yards downstream near the entrance to the Delaware and Raritan Canal.


Docks at New Brunswick Landing

On the date of my visit the tide was not quite low. The river bed was exposed at places upstream of the dock so it appears that it would be unwise to venture beyond the limits of New Brunswick Landing. There were no boats in the slips last Thursday afternoon but there was a county employee on site to perform maintenance and to register guests to the  facility. He advised me that there were originally more berths at the site but some were damaged during Hurricane Irene in August 2011.  He said that there was no charge for docking privileges and that boats were permitted to stay overnight but that the gates to the dock would be locked after hours.


I left feeling that the facility was very attractive and appeared well engineered but still wondering “Who is going to use this dock” and “Was this a wise use of $7 million of public funds?” In my mind if the facility is well used then the investment in the New Brunswick waterfront is a good one. What I’d like to know is if you boaters out there plan to take the trip to New Brunswick and tie up at New Brunswick Landing.


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The author, Carl E. Peters is one of fewer than 10 people licensed by the State of New Jersey as a Professional Engineer, Professional Land Surveyor, Professional Planner, Construction Official, Building Subcode Official and Plumbing Subcode Official. He is also a Certified Municipal Engineer and Mediator and founder of Carl E. Peters, LLC