Twice as Nice
Matching Sea Rays maximize fun during short, sweet summers along the New Jersey Shore.
If the lights of Las Vegas can be seen from space, surely the laughter from Atlantic City can be heard. Perhaps not from the famous boardwalk, where four of the major casinos have recently gone dark, but definitely from the surrounding streets and beaches and waterways where “Shore families” have been bonding over daily boat rides and nightly barbecues for generations. The New Jersey Shore is enduring, tightly knit by longstanding community values and a tireless appreciation for life, the love of family and laughter between friends.
The Goldstein and Rubin families, bonded by their beloved Sea Ray boats and second homes in the community of Longport, are ideal examples of the working-for-the-weekend culture that thrives along this section of Atlantic coast. The nearest economic center is Philadelphia. At 60 miles away, it’s a bit too far for daily commuting yet just close enough to maximize seaside fun. There isn’t a weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day during which you won’t find the two families enjoying their 300 SLXs.
“My family is so lucky,” says Gail Goldstein. “And it’s not just about the house at the Shore; it’s about the boat and how spending time out on the water brings us closer together.”
Her husband, Sam, agrees. “Time on the SLX isn’t just time. It’s always valuable time. When we’re at the house, the kids might be in their rooms, or someone’s on the computer or watching TV. We’re home, but we’re not together. On the boat we’re always together.”
The Goldstein “kids,” Scott (27) and Lauren (22), were only 11 and 6 when the family purchased their first Sea Ray. Five Sea Rays later: “Our kids still come out every weekend and go on the boat with us,” Gail says, “and my daughter lives all the way in New York!”
The Rubin family—Gary, Linda, daughter Samantha (23) and her boyfriend, Max Sablosky—are just as enthusiastic. “The Shore is unique,” Linda says. “It’s like a little paradise. When you drive over the Margate Bridge you can smell the water, and as soon as it hits you, everything changes. All the stress leaves your body.” The Rubins purchased their first Sea Ray back in 1985 and have, like the Goldsteins, stayed true to the brand ever since, moving up in size through the years.
The families’ relationship with the local MarineMax in Somers Point has much to do with that loyalty. “The support and service at MarineMax is fabulous,” Sam says, “and that’s extra important to me because I’m just not a handy guy. I can barely put gas in and turn the key! But hand it to MarineMax, if I call on Tuesday and say I had a little trouble, I know on Friday it will be resolved. Because the most important factor is knowing my boat is going to be on the water Saturday morning. We have fewer than 30 boating days each season, so if you lose a day it’s a big deal.” With so few fair days each year, dependability becomes a critical asset, but shouldn’t come at the expense of style, comfort or capability.
“This boat does everything well,” Gary says of the 300 SLX. “It has a huge fun factor, yet it’s also really comfortable and roomy.” Sam appreciates his SLX’s sex appeal: “I don’t like things that just look pretty but you can’t touch them or drive them. ‘Sexy’ shouldn’t have to be something you just look at. This boat is a perfect blend of functionality and style. It’s sexy and it works great.”
Another reason you don’t want to miss a day on the water? When you’re a summer Shore family with a boat like the 300 SLX, you have a lot of friends on the waiting list. “It’s a very social scene here at the Shore. Not a great place for people who need a lot of privacy,” says Gary, who thrives on the nonstop interaction of people stopping you on the street or dropping by your house. “You know the saying ‘He who dies with the most toys wins’?” he asks. “Well, I say it’s he who dies with the most friends! I hate an empty boat the way I hate an empty house. If we could have a hundred people a day on the boat, we’d have a hundred people a day.”
“I don’t like things that just look pretty but you can’t touch them or drive them. ‘Sexy’ shouldn’t have to be something you just look at. This boat is a perfect blend of functionality and style. It’s sexy and it works great.”
More often than not, you can find the Rubin and Goldstein 300 SLXs rafted together a few miles up the Great Egg Harbor River, laughter ringing out over the cattails before melting into the warm summer breeze. They’ll tie up in the late morning and other boats will eventually join, some old friends, some new. Lots of food and drinks. Swims to cool off. Stories to tell.
Gary and Sam initially met through business in Philadelphia. Later they started noticing each other around the Shore and out on the water on their respective Sea Rays. “We’d wave, maybe stop and say hello,” Gary says, “but when we ended up buying the same boat a couple of seasons ago, we started hanging out all the time.”
Three-day holiday weekends are a favorite. The itinerary might include a long, lazy day rafted upriver, an exhilarating run up the ocean in front of Atlantic City, a meal at one of the fabulous boat-friendly harbor restaurants, and maybe an evening excursion to the Atlantic City marina to take in a show or do a bit of gambling at one of the casinos.
“Our boat is perfect for socializing,” Sam says of the SLX. “People who live at the Shore like to go out to dinner or to the beach for get-togethers, but you go with like 16 or 20 people and it’s not very intimate. On the boat, we take one other family or a handful of friends, and it’s better because you engage in real conversation. Everyone’s comfortable and people can move around and mingle, get out of the sun, grab a drink or a hoagie and just relax. It’s always quality time.”
“Every day we spend on the boat is like a dream,” Gail enthuses. “In fact, that’s how we named our boat Pinch Me. We’d been stressing about what to name it and one day Sam said, ‘They’re calling me right now, we have to decide,’ and I said, ‘I don’t know! This is like a dream come true for us. I mean, pinch me! Is this really happening?’” The Rubins’ Good & Plenty is quite literal. “It’s a good boat and plenty big,” Gary says with a laugh. “Plus it’s Linda’s favorite candy!”
With the end of summer approaching, the Goldsteins and Rubins vowed to pack in as much boat play as possible. “All winter long, you look forward to getting out on the water,” Gail says. “And once it warms up, it’s just magical. Everyone is so busy in the city, so stressed, but to come out here and spend a day on the boat? It’s relaxing. There’s nothing we like to do more.”
“We create great memories out here,” Linda says of her family’s favorite pastime. “Because when we’re all on the boat, we’re all happy.”