The A.J. Meerwald: A special piece of Cape May history

CAPE MAY, N.J. (WPVI) -- Action News took a trip to the Jersey Shore Thursday to learn about the history of Cape May, including the A.J. Meerwald, New Jersey's Tall Ship.

"She was built in 1928 in Leesburg, Cumberland County, along the Maurice River for the oyster industry," said Jesse Briggs, Captain, A.J. Meerwald.

Then came the depression and World War II.

"She was taken over by the government as a fire boat to help protect the Camden and Philadelphia water fronts," said Briggs.

The boat fell into disrepair for a number of years, before being restored to her former glory.

"Her lines are manila, which would have been used in the '20s. It's a natural fiber, our sails are canvas," said Briggs.

Now, she spends her days educating visitors.

"They have an opportunity to hoist sale, learn about the history of the oyster industry and this vessel," said Briggs.

They even offer day classes for kids ages 10-16 to learn about becoming a sailor.

"They are learning knots, how to sail the vessel a little bit about navigation. It's a great way for them to get an introduction to the boat," said Briggs.

The A.J. Meerwald is currently docked in Cape May, but does travel to multiple ports along the shore.

"Through Sunday of Labor Day weekend, we are here at Utsch's Marina in Cape May. We are sailing twice a day - 3 times on Saturday. We have a special deal on Saturday morning where it's cheaper," said Briggs.

A unique trip, aboard a unique lady that still has a lot to give to the community.

"The boat was put back in service in '96 and this is her 20th year of operation, and we expect her to be around for a quite a few more," said Briggs.
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