New Jersey tall ship opportunities

by nk 
Discovery A.J.Meerwald photo by Steve Greer
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There's nothing like tall ship experience to add to the portfolio of the budding sailor - 'new' techniques, sea miles, the feeling of a great sailing ship moving beneath you, and round the world the tall ship 'industry' is thriving, thanks largely to volunteers. Enthusiastic sailors living anywhere near Delaware Bay in New Jersey in the USA have the opportunity to train on New Jersey's official tall ship, the schooner A.J. Meerwald.

Yes the 2012 sailing season is right around the corner, and the Bayshore Discovery Project is looking for ship-board volunteers to come out and learn the ins and outs of sailing, navigation and maritime lore as carried out on a tall ship, and help to sail the historic tall ship, A.J. Meerwald.

Discovery AJ Meerwald and bridge
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She is a restored oyster dredging schooner, launched in 1928, and was one of hundreds of schooners built along South Jersey's Delaware Bayshore before the decline of the shipbuilding industry which coincided with the Great Depression.

Today, A.J. Meerwald is used for onboard educational programs in and around Delaware Bay in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The training session begins on Saturday, March 3, and will continue on March 17, 31 and April 14, between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. The classes are free of charge, and will be held at the home port of the Meerwald, 2800 High St. (Bivalve), Port Norris.

Upon completion of the course, volunteers would be responsible for helping the crew sail the historic ship, greeting passengers and presenting education programs. Shipboard volunteers must attend the training session in its entirety.

Discovery past crew
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No previous experience is necessary, but ship-board volunteers must be 18 years of age; teens between the ages of 14 and 17 may attend the training if accompanied by an adult.

The training session is free of charge; the only requirements are Bayshore Discovery Project membership and a minimum commitment of 20 non-sailing volunteer hours plus five sails during the season.

And if you are merely interested in tall ships but don't want to sail, the Bayshore Discovery Project will also be hosting a training session for shore-bound volunteers; those who wish to volunteer ashore may attend the March 31 training session.

Discovery A.J. Meerwald wedding
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Shore-bound volunteers will help in the museum, work in the Oyster Cracker cafe, and with educational programs such as the monthly Second Fridays by the Bay events. Volunteers will also help with mailings, publicity, fundraising and research activities.

The Meerwald’s ports of call for the 2012 season include Bivalve, Burlington, Greenwich, Salem, Jersey City, Edgewater, Alpine, Beach Haven, Atlantic City and Cape May.

To learn more about the Discovery Project, http://www.ajmeerwald.org/!click_here. If you are interested in attending a training session, contact the Bayshore Discovery Project at +1 856 785 2060 .