Heading down to the shore has always been a go-to for many Philadelphians, and now there’s another reason to hit the water this summer season.
From Vineland native Captain Tim Merighi and Ocean City business partner Matt Sawyer, Philadelphians can check out the Kick Back Tiki Cruises out of Wildwood, New Jersey for the 2022 season. The new concept is a tiki boat and floating bar that will offer private chartered BYO cruises departing several times a day from their dock at 626 W. 26th Avenue.
“It has always been a dream of mine to have a career that celebrated my love of being on the water,” explained Merighi, a Coast Guard licensed captain, in a statement. “Creating a private BYOB tiki cruise has been an idea I have floated around for years. Now, as I look beyond graduating from Saint Joseph’s University, I decided it was time to bring the idea to life and create my own business. With the pandemic still gripping our everyday life, people deserve a place where they can safely escape their worries on the shore, soak up some sunshine and kick back while indulging in a cold drink.”
For those who choose to set sail with the new venture, there are a few options: The Rise N Shine (a morning cruise), Mid-Day, Afternoon, Happy Hour, Sunset (the best for photos) and Wildwood by Night, with prices from $350 to $500 for up to six people at a time. The Tahitian-inspired designed boat also comes with some extra amenities such as USB chargers and an open-air layout—plus, a bathroom on board.
Sawyer laughed and said, “One of the biggest features and difference makers is the bathroom. It may sound funny and you might not think it’s a big deal—but when the ladies are out there for a few hours enjoying themselves, it really comes in handy. We have been on boats without it before and it’s made the experience much worse for the customers, so we knew we had to add that as a must have feature when we were building it out.”
While on Kick Back Tiki, guests can BYO their favorite cold beverages and food, or they can order bites and have them delivered right to the dock courtesy of their catering partner The Salty Mermaid Bar and Grille. The restaurant serves up a selection of salads, small plates, shareables, sandwiches, entrees and bites from a kids menu—think a charcuterie board, slider platter, various types of wraps, a burrata board, and even shrimp cocktail, just to name a few options. All platters are prepared for six people and will be conveniently delivered to the boat just before your private tiki cruise.
Being in close proximity, The Salty Mermaid (2507 Delaware Ave, North Wildwood) is also a prime spot to enjoy a meal and drink before, during, or after each cruise.
The new boat service offers private chartered BYO cruises for up to six people at a time, and cruises come in a variety of themes and stops along the way, with most cruises coming in at two hours long.
There’s also a special three-and-a-half-hour-long restaurant or sandbar excursion. Passengers can pick from their choice of water-side restaurant (such as the Ship n Shore, Beach Creek or any of your other favorite restaurants) or a sandbar. Sandbar options include Champagne Island, the Lazy Bass in Grassy Sound or a stop at the Wharf in Wildwood. The boat goes up to 15 MPH, so heading to 2 Mile Landing is also a popular option.
“Of all the boats in the area, I truly think Kick Back Tiki Cruises is the most perfect fit for Jersey Shore goers,” continued Sawyer in a statement. “We are a private cruise experience for parties of six, to come out and make their experience whatever they want it to be. We have great versatility on our custom-made boat which includes Bluetooth speakers, charging ports, the Yeti cooler for some cold beverages, the seated bar, the Adirondack chairs, the LED lights, etc. You can use all of our special features to kick back with your family, relax, and enjoy the views or to have some cocktails and make it a party on the water.”
As a release states, Captain Merighi and Sawyer met in summer of 2021 while enjoying the waves on a booze cruise, ironically enough. They both struck up a friendship and partnership that celebrates their love of the water, their drive to start a business with potential for expansion, and to provide a much needed service down by the waterfront. While they met on a booze cruise, they wanted Kick Back Tiki Cruises to be casual, carefree and laid back — hence the name to kick back and relax.
And why Wildwood?
Merighi enthusiastically finished in his statement, “Wildwood is arguably the best in terms of dockside restaurant options, beautiful sunset viewing locations, and offers the best waterways to cruise along for a service like ours; there’s nowhere we would rather be. I grew up fishing and boating in the back bays of Wildwood. I have a long history here. It is my home and my favorite place on the planet.”
For information, visit kickbacktiki.com