In addition to providing recreational services at Roosevelt Inlet, Quest owner Matt Carter says he and his staff also stay vigilant for potential swimmers or kayakers in distress and perform daily duties to protect the environment.
Carter went before Lewes Mayor and City Council Jan. 10 to present his annual end-of-season report to city officials. Carter is operating a beach shack at Roosevelt Inlet on a trial basis through the end of summer 2022. At the shack, beachgoers can rent chairs and umbrellas as well as kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and floating mats. At night, Quest provides bonfire services all along Lewes Beach.
One service Carter is particularly proud of is Quest’s offering of beach-access chairs for individuals with special needs. Quest now has five chairs at its various locations, with one always available at Roosevelt Inlet. Between June and September, Quest’s chairs were utilized 128 times. The chairs are available free, but reservations are highly recommended.
Carter said Quest was recently able to acquire a three-wheeler that can take anyone with special needs out into the water to float, further enhancing the experience they’re able to provide.
The addition of blue mats over the Roosevelt Inlet dune also allowed for better access this past summer, Carter said, and he thanked city officials and state representatives for making that happen.
Bonfires on the beach have increased in popularity in recent years. From May through December, Quest set up 133 bonfires throughout Lewes, not limited to Roosevelt Inlet. In some cases, customers acquired permits from city hall; however, Quest obtained the majority of permits directly. Carter noted there were many other bonfires on the beach, and while he didn’t set them up, he and his staff kept an eye on them to ensure they were extinguished and properly cleaned up.
Throughout the summer, Carter’s staff assisted many beachgoers, whether providing information, or helping kayakers or swimmers in distress. Carter estimates his co-workers performed about 10 water rescues last summer. They also pick up trash left behind, he said.
Councilman Khalil Saliba said he was impressed with what Quest has done on the beach.
“Clearly there is a demand for these services, and you guys do it in a cost-effective and efficient way,” he told Carter. “Your five beach chairs for people with special needs is a great example to everyone. The beach rescues you performed, the trash you pick up ... I’ve seen it firsthand. I think what you do is so commendable.”
Through rentals, Quest received about $28,000 in revenue in summer 2021. As part of its agreement with the city, Quest paid the city a $2,500 annual fee. Carter estimates his bonfires provided the city with an additional $2,500 in revenue.
Carter requested the city add more bike racks at Roosevelt Inlet, as he’s noticed more people are choosing to ride or walk to the beach. He said he’d also be happy to discuss additional bike racks at other popular destinations along the beach.