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Boat With LED Advertising Board Draws Mixed Reaction At Jersey Shore Beaches

MANASQUAN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A new kind of advertising has appeared right in the water along the Jersey Shore, and not everyone is thrilled about it.

As CBS2's Meg Baker reported, the giant LED advertising billboard is mounted on a boat that makes its way past a string of beaches.

"Statistics do show that digital advertising is upcoming, and that's really where future is going," said Charlie Michaels, owner of the Shore Board.

Michaels gave CBS2's Baker a tour of the boat and the 213 square-foot Shore Board. The advertisements on the board change to target each specific town he passes by, from Asbury Park down to Seaside Park.

"So we allow clients to come in and actually reach out to their particular market," Michaels said.

It costs $699 a month to advertise a business on the Shore Board, which Michaels said is equivalent to the cost of making a banner for an airplane.

On Monday, the Shore Board started its run in Point Pleasant and was set to travel down to Seaside. Beachgoers had mixed reviews.

"I don't know if I'm into a big sign on a boat," said Craig Mangio of Manasquan. "Seems like the visual might be a little bit too much for you at the beach, right? I'd rather see it in the sky."

"I've seen it a couple of times on my boat and it catches your eye," a Point Pleasant man said.

"It's a great idea and a great way to advertise," a Point Pleasant woman said.

But Manasquan Mayor Ed Donovan said many residents have not issued such ringing endorsements for the ad-bearing boat.

"I have heard from a couple of people that they thought it was a little tacky," Donovan said.

But Donovan said the sign has been good for local businesses, and could be useful in an emergency.

"I think it's a great tool, you know, especially if you have a missing kid on beach," he said.

Banners already trail behind planes along the shore, and the same goes for advertisements on boats. Michaels got clearance for the LED sign from the U.S. Coast Guard.

"We're not a permanent structure, and we're also out in ocean beyond local municipalities," he said. "Some of the areas we cover – they actually don't allow billboard advertising."

The boat switches directions every other day.

"We don't want to be that company to be down here and in your face every day," Michaels said. "We want you to enjoy the beach."

Most people who spoke to Baker on Monday said they don't mind just one sign. But they do not want to see a whole fleet of the bright signs.

This summer, the Shore Board has also done marriage proposals, birthdays, military welcomes home, and graduations.

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