Bivalve, NJ – After a lengthy renovation project, New Jersey’s tall ship, the Schooner AJ Meerwald, will return to the water on Friday, July 8, 2022. The historic boat’s launch will begin her journey back to her home port at The Bayshore Center in Bivalve, NJ.

The 94-year-old boat has been hauled out in Belfast, Maine since September 2021, where Clark & Eisele Traditional Boatbuilding repaired or replaced most of the ship’s deck-level components. A large crew of skilled shipwrights reconditioned salvageable pieces of the original ship wherever possible. When necessary, new pieces were fabricated to look like those they replaced.

“AJ Meerwald is more than just an object of historic significance- she is also an active working vessel,” said Garett Eisele, co-owner of Clark & Eisele Traditional Boatbuilding. “That means that by operating and repairing her, the skills and knowledge of the past are kept alive alongside the boat itself. Everybody who has a hand in keeping her going is participating in 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 have covered the costs of a new engine, new generator, new rigging, new sails and other repairs that will allow the ship to continue river sails and her nationally recognized hands-on environmental education programming.

The Bayshore Center at Bivalve is looking forward to having its largest attraction back home on the Delaware Bay. The ship helps drive The Bayshore Center’s environmentally conscious mission by serving as a traveling classroom, educating students about clean water in New Jersey and enhancing understanding of human impact on the environment.


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The Bayshore Center holds a “2nd Friday Celebration” each month from April-September, and this month’s event happens to fall on Launch Day. To celebrate, the nonprofit will show footage of the historical event.

Additional event highlights include live music from Randy and Ryan, fresh Delaware Bay Oysters from Bivalve Packing and beer from local Glasstown Brewing Co.
Attendees can also learn about an upcoming project designed to protect the mouth of the Maurice River in a lecture presented by Shane Godshall, American Lottoral Society’s Habitat Restoration Project Manager.

For more information on the AJ Meerwald or the 2nd Friday Celebration or to donate to the restoration project, visit www.bayshorecenter.org.

About AJ Meerwald: The 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 South Jersey’s Bayshore before the decline of the shipbuilding industry which coincided with the Great Depression. Today, the AJ Meerwald is used by the Bayshore Center at Bivalve as a traveling classroom and vehicle to enjoy the area’s waterways.

About the Bayshore Center at Bivalve: The Bayshore Center operates the Delaware Bay Museum, New Jersey’s only environmental history museum, and the Oyster Cracker Café in Oyster Shipping Sheds dating back to 1904. Located on the Maurice River, a National Wild and Scenic River, The Bayshore Center provides a place for visitors to learn about New Jersey’s oyster industry, sail aboard a historic oyster schooner and enjoy an outstanding meal. The Bayshore Center at Bivalve works to further the understanding of the human impact on the environment.


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