Welcome to the Official Website of the Borough Of Ship Bottom -- Gateway to Long Beach Island!


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Welcome to the Borough of Ship Bottom!

 

Gateway to Long Beach Island

Ship Bottom is often referred to as the "Gateway to Long Beach Island" because of the Causeway linking the Borough to the mainland. 

Naming of Ship Bottom

Ship Bottom is one of the oldest place names on Long Beach Island.  According to the local historian John Bailey Lloyd, author of "Six Miles at Sea," the name dates from an unusual shipwreck that occurred in March, 1817.

The captain of a schooner heading south was navigating through a thick fog when he heard cries from the direction of the shoreline.  Encountering a schooner heading north, he alerted Captain Stephen Willets of Tuckerton that there might be a ship in trouble near the shore.  Although Willets and his crew could see nothing in the fog , nor could they hear anything but the clang of their own ship's bell, they rowed along the outer bar for several hours searching for the endangered ship.  Finally a dark shape appeared--the hull of a ship overturned in the shoals.  Corpses hung from the rigging and bobbed in the frigid sea.  As one of Willets' men climbed onboard the beached schooner, he heard a noise under his feet--someone tapping the inside of the barnacled hull.  

With an ax, Willets chopped a hole in the ship's bottom near the keel and, after much struggling, freed the young woman trapped inside.  She spoke no English.  But after being taken ashore, she expressed her gratitude by drawing a cross of thanks in the sand.  No one knows her name or the name of the ship because they were never recorded.  But the place of the shipwreck and the rescue became known as "Ship Bottom."

Ship Bottom became Life Saving Station #20 in 1872, and the first permanent dwelling was established in 1898 by Captain Wesley Truex, keeper of the station.  A community rapidly grew up around the unit.

On January 10, 1910, the Italian bark Fortuna ran aground on the 16th Street beach during a thick fog. The captain and crew were rescued, but the ship capsized in the soft sand.  The wrecked Fortuna lay on its side on the Beach Arlington beach during most of 1910, until it was cut up for salvage.  

Eventually the towns of Bonnie Beach, Bonnet Beach, Edgewater Beach, Beach Arlington and Ship Bottom collaborated to form the borough on May 25, 1925. The town was known as Ship Bottom-Beach Arlington until 1947 when the name was changed to Ship Bottom. 

The Borough of Ship Bottom

Ship Bottom is a Borough, a self-governing incorporated town with a Borough Council form of government.   The Governing Body consists of seven elected officials -- the Mayor and a six-member Council.  The Mayor is elected for a term of four years.  The three-year terms of the Council members are staggered.  Each year two Council seats are up for election.  Each Council member chairs a committee that oversees a department:  Revenue and Finance; Public Safety; Water/Sewer; Parks and Recreation; Public Property and Community Affairs; and Public Works.  

The Ship Bottom Water Tower is pictured at right.  Sunset Point, a beautiful garden  located  between 13th and 16th streets, is pictured at left. The facility has a playground for children, restrooms, a beach area and the Ede Kahl Gazebo.

 

 Borough of Ship Bottom Municipal Code Book
 


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Borough of Ship Bottom
1621 Long Beach Blvd., Ship Bottom, NJ 08008
609-494-2171

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