What makes the F Cove the second most popular boating destination in NJ?

Driving down Mantoloking Road and over the Mantoloking Bridge you’d never know it’s there. Cruising via boat on the northern Barnegat Bay past Traders Cove Marina, if you are not looking to the west you’d miss it. But lurking just beyond the trees and marsh is a section of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge known as “F Cove”.

Averaging 15 ft deep, once passed the 2 ft shallow entrance, F Cove is a man-made cove located on the northern Barnegat Bay, west of the Jersey Shore town of Mantoloking and north of Traders Cove Marina in Brick, NJ.

Its origin dates back to the 1950’s when a developer had plans for a waterfront community and had the area dredged in the shape of the letter “F”. By the 1970’s the plan was history, having been challenged and ultimately defeated with help of the Ocean County chapter of the Izaak Walton League. The Wetlands Act of the 1970s prohibited any new dredging, while the 1980s ban on new bulkheading in non-established developments ended any chance of the F Cove ever being developed.

In 2009 there was a proposal to close F Cove and partially fill it in. That didn’t come to fruition. The F Cove became more widely known in late 2009 when episode 5 of MTV’s Jersey Shore aired. The episode featured the crew taking a boat for the afternoon to the popular hangout, partying and dancing it up Jersey Shore style. By 2012, the crowds had gotten too out of control for the concerns of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and law enforcement with regard to environmental and public safety, which resulted in the closure of F Cove in 2012. In 2013, F Cove was reopened but both state and local police patrolled the area to make sure things didn’t get too out of hand. Today, F Cove is back to being a loud partying boat hang out. Any summer weekend requires boaters to arrive early just to find a spot. It’s incredible how many boats you can cram in such a small area. Find a spot, position nose in and beach up. No anchoring skills required. After Tices Shoal off Island Beach State Park, it is considered the most popular boating destination in New Jersey.

If you want to see what F Cove is all about, click the following YouTube link to see a 360 Video of F Cove during a typical summer weekend. The 360 Video allows you to pan and zoom in any direction you want giving the viewer their own custom view of what they want to watch. For best experience, view at highest resolution and use a viewer that supports 360 degree videos like the YouTube app, Amazon FireStick and Android TV.