A riverboat with decades of history in Toms River will remain at the township’s seaport dock for another decade.
The township council on Wednesday night approved a contract with River Lady Tours that would see the riverboat, which offers dinners cruises, historical-themed cruises and sunset events, to remain docked at the Boatworks slip at the end of Robbins Parkway in downtown Toms River for another decade.
Though the boat has been located in the slip there for years, it is municipally-owned and subject to a public bidding process. River Lady Tours submitted the highest bid of $131,000 for a contract term of 120 months. The contract will commence July 8, 2024.
The River Lady, though diesel-powered, is built in a riverboat style with a paddle wheel at the stern. It was the dream of noted Toms River boat builder Lance Chambeau before his tragic death while building a yacht for his family business. It was a few years after his death that his son, Lance Jr., found drawings and potential profit calculations for running a riverboat in the Toms River. Discouraged from continuing on in the business since it was a career he shared so closely with his father, Lance Jr. found a new dream of his own in reviving his father’s idea.
After a nationwide search, “from Wisconsin to South Padre Island, Texas,” a history of the boat said, he found the perfect vessel in Florida at Freeport Shipbuilding, the original company his father had contacted to brainstorm the idea so many years earlier. Lance Jr. was convinced after seeing one of the company’s riverboats operating in Myrtle Beach.
River Lady arrived on the Toms River on Father’s Day 1989, and since then, Lance Jr.’s wife, Christina, has joined the business. Their son, Lance III, has obtained his Captains License.
“Our guests can count on as least one of the Chambeau family to be aboard each cruise,” Lance Jr. said.
More information on the boat can be found at its website.