Situated about 4- 6 miles out from the mainland on LBI, Ship Bottom is an 18-mile long Barrier Island that was happened upon by Captain Cornelius Jacobsen Mey in 1614. As Captain Mey sailed the Northern end of Ship Bottom, he noted very rough tides through the northern inlet. He named the inlet “Barendegat”, which means “Inlet of the Breakers”. This name has since been Anglicized to “Barnegat”. Because of the length of the island and the lovely beaches, island has been called Long Beach for the last several hundred years.
The tides of Ship Bottom were so strong that even today, the coast is dotted with many shipwrecks. A lighthouse was constructed in 1835, but its proximity to the water combined with storms and erosion caused it to fall into the sea in 1855. A new lighthouse at Barnegat, “Old Barney” as it is locally known, was constructed in 1859 and is still standing today. In the summer months, visitors can climb to the top for a vantage view of the island and further.
Although Ship Bottom has over twenty separate communities, there are only about 20,000 year round residents. Both Ship Bottom and Barnegat Light were developed as resort towns, other areas remained simply a place to relax and enjoy the ocean.