How River Lady Got Her Start
My family has been a part of the boating community since 1972 when my parents Lance & Mary Chambeau purchased the Toms River Boat Works Marina at the foot of Robbins Parkway. It was originally a wooden boat building shop with two marine railways. Eventually we got involved with the buying and selling of used power boats. My parents sold the Boat Works in November 1987 after owning it for 15 years almost to the day. We still continued in boat sales or as my dad phrased and branded it “Fine Experienced Yachts”. It was on the delivery of one of those yachts that my dad went to be with the Lord at the age of 45 being overcome by CO (Carbon Monoxide) poisoning.
After my dad’s death I lost interest in the boat sales business as it was something that I did with him. While looking through some files I came upon some blue print type drawings of a riverboat along with some rough income and expense projections, it caught my interest. Although I can’t recall ever talking with my Dad about such ideas I found it intriguing. After discussing it with my mother we set out looking for a riverboat to start a new business. I looked at several used vessels from Wisconsin to South Padre Island, TX but none of them were maintained well enough so I called the company that my dad had gotten the information from – Freeport Shipbuilding out of Freeport, FL. I went to see a boat they had just completed that was in Myrtle Beach, SC and it was beautiful!
We hired them to build the riverboat that was to be called River Lady. I originally thought of calling her Proud Mary after the Credence Clearwater Revival song but since my mother’s name is Mary she wouldn’t go along with that. She came up with the name River Lady. River Lady arrived on the Toms River on Father’s Day 1989. This day has some significance since it was my late father’s idea. My wife, Christina, is also an integral part of River Lady’s history and present operation and now my 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.
Dear Captain Lance,
This letter is written on behalf of the members of the New Jersey Society of Pennsylvania that cruised on the River Lady on September 14, 2015. Initially we want to thank you for the ease of working with you to arrange our outing that was executed with a high level of professionalism without exception. This is saying a lot since we were 104 senior citizens.
You exceeded our expectations regarding service, food and historic narration in addition to the perfect day we had for the outing. A few of our boat owner members mentioned that the high level of vessel maintenance impressed them. I am sure that our member’s experience will encourage others that we speak with to consider time on the River Lady.
Again, thank you for making our cruise a memorable experience.
Bill Kucker, Trip Coordinator
New Jersey Society of Pennsylvania