POINT PLEASANT BEACH — New Jersey’s official tall ship, the historic AJ Meerwald, officially dropped anchor in Point Pleasant Beach this week and community members are invited to visit to learn more about the ship before it once again sets sail to undergo restoration work.
The AJ Meerwald, docked until around Sept. 7 on Channel Drive, at its intersection with Baltimore Avenue, is a 115-foot-long restored oyster-dredging schooner, whose New Jersey home port is in the town of Bivalve, along the Delaware Bay.
Launched in 1928, the vessel was one of hundreds of schooners built along South Jersey’s Bayshore before the decline of the shipbuilding industry during the Great Depression. Today, the tall ship is used by the Bayshore Center at Bivalve as a traveling classroom along the area’s waterways. The AJ Meerwald was added to the National Register of Historic Places in November 1995.
“It was neat yesterday to see people coming down,” said John Gandy. “We didn’t really have time to advertise in advance that we were going to do tours but people saw the mast and just came pulling in and were so enthused about seeing it, about being able to come aboard and that enthusiasm of people asking questions and listening to our stories and the history of this boat and of the oyster industry it was really neat,” he said.
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