ATLANTIC CITY — Stewart Rosen spent a number of years and a lot of money to become a doctor.
And he has plenty to show for it, including a gorgeous home on the back bays of the city with waterfront views and a prestigious job in medical research.
But despite being a well-respected doctor, “captain” is definitely the title he prefers.
“I love working in medicine, but my passion is the sea,” he said.
And between the months of May and November, that is where Rosen, 58, can be found, booking group after group for private adventures aboard his watercraft.
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Rosen is the captain and owner of Metamorphosis, a 40-foot luxury charter boat he keeps docked in Atlantic City.
“On a typical weekend in the summer, I’m averaging three to four charters. Each trip averages 2½ hours. People love it because it’s a bit of a niche thing. You typically don’t see this kind of boat used for a charter,” he says.
Metamorphosis is gorgeous. The yacht cuts a massive, almost imposing figure when viewed from the shore.
Yet embarking on a journey on the Metamorphosis is a sublimely relaxing experience. With its gleaming exterior of white and midnight blue and its cabin filled with soft, tan leather seats, one can understand how spending time there could become a passion.
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The boat seats six, said Rosen, but that number seems low when you consider the size of the vessel and its ample seating options. Of course, that may be by design. Although he loves taking folks out on the water, he can be somewhat selective with what’s allowed. A few beers on board is OK, but wild partying is not what the Metamorphosis is all about.
“My general rule is ‘no hard alcohol,’ but you can bring a flask.’ Rosen said as he relayed a story about a Russian family that showed up with a two-foot flask. “Somebody is always trying to get away with something.”
Rosen opened the Metamorphosis for business five years ago, but he is hardly a newbie when it comes to life on the high seas.
“I grew up on boats,” he said. “When I was 6 years old, my father had his first boat on Long Beach Island. We had 5 people and a dog living on a 23-foot boat on the weekends. Eventually my mother put her foot down and said to my dad, ‘Either you get a bigger boat, or I’m out of here!’ And so he got a 38-foot boat and we lived on it all summer. Then I worked on the fishing boats and the dive boats out of Barnegat Light.”
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Charters are available for everything from fishing to sightseeing cruises, but there is one use of his services Rosen had not predicted when he started the business.
“The burials at sea are becoming a really popular request. Some people look at you and say, ‘You really do that?’ but it’s extremely rewarding when you do it right. It’s actually become a huge part of my business.”
No matter what their reason for boarding the Metamorphosis, Rosen said his interaction with customers is the key to his business. Throughout a quick tour through the back bays of Atlantic City, he notes landmark after landmark, offering up tidbits of info on each site he spots. Passing the rusty Atlantic City Beach Thorofare Train Bridge, Rosen delves into its history, while simultaneously remembering to offer his guests drinks.
“As a captain, your personal reputation is so important. You gotta talk to your people, get to know them and make sure they are having a good time.”