Known officially as the North Shrewsbury River and upstream of Red Bank as the Swimming River, it is formed southwest of Red Bank by the confluence of the Swimming River with several smaller streams. It extends ENE along the north side of Red Bank, connecting to the Shrewsbury River estuary at Rumson, approximately 1 mi (1.6 km) south of the entrance of the Shrewsbury River into Sandy Hook Bay near Highlands.
The area was originally populated by the Lenni Lenape Indians. In 1665, John Hance was one of the settlers who negotiated with the Navesink Indians of the Lenni Lenape Tribe to purchase the lands of this peninsula and the immediate surroundings through the Monmouth Patent. Following the founding of Red Bank in 1736 (named after its situation on the "red banks" of the Navesink river), the river was important for transportation from the Navesink river communities to New York City and was served by side-wheeler steam boats until the 1950s
Today the river is a major recreational resource for powerboating, crabbing, fishing, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, bird watching, swimming and rowing. During particularly cold winters, the Navesink can freeze, adding ice skating and ice boating to the list of recreations available to people. The area along the Navesink banks is one of the most affluent in New Jersey. Today, the town of Red Bank rests situated on its banks, with hotels and apartment buildings that are offer scenic views of the river. Furthermore, select homes in Red Bank, Fair Haven, and Rumson share similar views.
As a tidal estuary flowing to the Shrewbury River at Sea Bright, continuing into Sandy Hook Bay and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean, the Navesink provides excellent fishing for species such as bluefish (snappers), striped bass and fluke. Crabbing is particularly popular in the upstream Swimming river section. Local Navesink river fishing guide, Capt. Paul Eidman of Reel Therapy has been running guided fishing trips on the river for over a decade. Fly fishing for Stripers, bluefish, Fluke (summer founder) weakfish provides an exceptional, scenic backwater opportunity for light tackle anglers. Springtime is great starting in Mid April and running thru June and then picking back up as the river cools in the fall.
Independence Day fireworks
Each year, a fireworks display is launched from the river close to Red Bank on July 3rd.[a] This annual display is held on the eve of Independence Day "Kaboomfest" is held in Marine Park, where local bands and vendors gather to view the fireworks.
The Navesink River was the home to a pod of up to 16 Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins from June 2008 into the winter of that year. They are thought to have followed a school of baitfish from the Sandy Hook Bay. The dolphins attracted nearby residents to view them, as well as media attention. Local authorities enforced a requirement on marine traffic so maintain a safe distance from the pod, and even issued tickets to boats that were deemed hazardous to the dolphins' safety.
In late September 2008, one of the dolphins had been found washed up on the shore, and it was determined that its cause of death was pneumonia. Several days later, another was found floating down the river. A group of Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins has reappeared in August 2012 near the Oceanic Bridge.
- There was no fireworks display in 2012 as there was not enough funding to support it.
- "History - Sheep's Run". Borough of Rumson. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
- "Celebrating a Community's Revival". NJCooperator. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
- "Kaboomfest - News". Kaboomfest - Welcome. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
- Murray, Brian. "Dolphins now enjoying life in Navesink River". NJ.com. Retrieved August 10, 2008.
- Spoto, MaryAnn. "Dolphin in Navesink River had pneumonia". NJ.com. Retrieved September 26, 2008.
- Spoto, MaryAnn. "Another dead dolphin found in the Navesink River". NJ.com. Retrieved October 9, 2008.