Working for a Living | Barging in with Joel Edge

Happy customers on Joel Edge’s Living Large Party Barge. Courtesy photo.
Happy customers on Joel Edge’s Living Large Party Barge. Courtesy photo.

Joel T. Edge, 44, grew up in Sunset Beach, N.C., and said he comes from a long line of family from the North Myrtle Beach area – going back to the 1700s.

Edge holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Coastal Carolina University and said he loves technology and science. He owned a tech company called Edge Data Solutions for 10 years and was involved in the solar power industry with an outfit called Edge Solar International – where he designed and installed solar battery power systems.

But now he is out on the water mostly – taking folks out on his boat, which he dubbed the Living Large Party Barge [].

Edge is a 50GT master captain, meaning he is certified for 50 gross ton vessels carrying up to six passengers.

“The Living Large Party barge is an intimate experience for families and friends to see parts of the Grand Strand that you normally do not see or even know existed,” he said, adding that this includes some of the barrier islands north of Cherry Grove and the inland waterway there.

The barge has been known to travel south on the Intracoastal Waterway, perhaps to the Boathouse Waterway Bar & Grill for a Sunday stop-in – but, according to Edge, the main thing is taking folks out to secluded beaches like Bird Island, adjacent to Sunset Beach, N.C.

“We have a large cooler on board with 40 pounds of fresh ice for every ride,” he said. “We have Sirius satellite radios. You can jam out to whatever genre you want to hear, and you can plug in your device. And let’s not forget the onboard hammock and the upper level for sunbathing once we get to the island.”

The idea for the party barge came about when Edge was traveling through Latin America to places such as Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras.

“They have water taxis over there with stereos onboard, painted with wild colors and with colorful people on board running the boats.”

When he got back home, Edge poked around and noticed that there was a niche for this – especially with so many seasonal visitors here.

“It was time they saw some of the natural areas and give them things to do that are different from just going to the beach or going out to eat,” he said. “It gives people a chance to get away and relax, and they love it.”

Edge is going into his third season with this business – and said that fun is guaranteed. He waits until his riders get back to the dock before he does business. “If they didn’t like it, I don’t want them to pay me.”

Of course, regulations forbid Edge and first mate Corey Smith from cracking a cold one while on the job, but he said they have just as good a time as his customers.

“I feel like every time I go out, I make new friends and hope that everybody else feels the same way. I am blessed to be able to enjoy family outings with these folks.”

The vessel was once a beat-up pontoon boat – on the hard in a storage lot, as Edge said – when he bought it.

“My dad [Tom Edge] and I worked on it for three months straight. I wouldn’t be here swinging in this hammock if it wasn’t for my dad.”

Edge is planning on pursuing master’s in cybersecurity in the next year, and is looking to expand operations with the Living Large Party Barge, including franchising the concept.

“Very few people are doing what I am doing or offering what I am offering,” he said.

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