Bivalve, NJ – After a lengthy renovation project, the New Jersey tall ship, schooner AJ Meerwald, will return to the water on Friday, July 8, 2022. The ship’s historic launch will begin its return journey to its homeport at the Bayshore Center in Bivalve, NJ.
The 94-year-old boat has been hauled to Belfast, Maine since September 2021, where Clark & Eisele Traditional Boatbuilding repaired or replaced most of the vessel’s deck-level components. A large team of skilled shipbuilders have reconditioned salvageable parts from the original vessel whenever possible. When necessary, new parts were made to look like the ones they replaced.
“AJ Meerwald is more than just an object of historical significance, it’s also an active working vessel,” said Garett Eisele, co-owner of Clark & Eisele Traditional Boatbuilding. “This means that by using and repairing it, the skills and knowledge of the past are kept alongside the boat itself. Everyone who contributes to its survival is part of a valuable living history.
The work in Belfast is the final phase of a multi-year renovation project. Over the past two years, a total of $1.4 million has been raised to restore the ship. These funds covered the costs of a new engine, new generator, new rigging, new sails and other repairs that will keep the ship navigating the river and its hands-on education program nationally recognized environment.
The Bayshore Center at Bivalve can’t wait to have its biggest attraction at home on Delaware Bay. The vessel contributes to the Bayshore Center’s environmental mission by serving as a traveling classroom, educating students about safe drinking water in New Jersey, and improving understanding of human impact on the environment.
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The Bayshore Center hosts a “2nd Friday Celebration” each month from April through September, and this month’s event falls on launch day. To celebrate, the non-profit organization will show footage of the historic event.
Other event highlights include live music from Randy and Ryan, fresh Delaware Bay oysters from Bivalve Packing, and beer from the Glasstown Brewing Co.
Attendees can also learn about an upcoming project to protect the mouth of the Maurice River in a talk presented by Shane Godshall, Habitat Restoration Project Manager for the American Lottoral Society.
For more information about AJ Meerwald or the 2nd Friday celebration or to donate to the restoration project, visit www.bayshorecenter.org.
About AJ Meerwald: Schooner AJ Meerwald, New Jersey’s Official Tall Ship, is a restored oyster dredging schooner. Launched in 1928, AJ Meerwald was one of hundreds of schooners built along the South Jersey Bayshore before the decline of the shipbuilding industry that coincided with the Great Depression. Today, the AJ Meerwald is used by the Bayshore Center in Bivalve as a traveling classroom and vehicle for enjoying the area’s waterways.
About Bayshore Center at Bivalve: Bayshore Center operates the Delaware Bay Museum, New Jersey’s only environmental history museum, and the Oyster Cracker Café in the 1904 Oyster Shipping Sheds. Located on the Maurice River, a A wild and scenic national river, The Bayshore Center allows visitors to learn about New Jersey’s oyster industry, cruise aboard a historic oyster schooner, and savor an exceptional meal. The Bayshore Center at Bivalve strives to better understand the human impact on the environment.