Education Sails

Education sails are just a part of our Education programs.  The video below highlights an educational sail aboard the AJ Meerwald.


Education aboard the Schooner AJ Meerwald is a unique and fun learning experience. Participants step aboard and step back in time to learn about this 1928 Delaware Bay schooner and the oyster industry for which she was built. They use teamwork to haul on the manila lines to raise the heavy canvas sails. Once under sail, they learn about the surrounding environment and how their daily lives impact it. Quiet observation time on each sail allows participants to use all of their senses to take in the moment.

Education sail teamwork


Sailing aboard a schooner teaches teamwork and cooperation

examining what's downstream

Watershed station

One of the goals of our shipboard programs is to connect participants with the environment by helping them develop a sense of place and accountability within their local watershed. We accomplish that by utilizing an interactive model to demonstrate various examples of point-source and non-point-source (a.k.a. people) pollution. Participants populate and pollute the watershed and then watch the rain wash everything into the waterways.  We end this station on a positive note by identifying ways we can make a difference.

Teachers / Group Leaders choose three additional education stations from the following list to tailor the program to meet their curriculum needs.

Measuring salinity during an education sail

Water Quality

Students collect a sample of the local water and measure the temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, turbidity, phosphates, nitrates and pH. Abnormal fluctuations to these measurements can have serious consequences to the local marine life and to human life. Sources of detrimental fluctuations are identified.

Trawling for plankton during an education sail


Students trawl for a plankton sample, analyze their catch under a microscope, learn about various types of plankton and their critical role in the marine food web and global oxygen supply.

Pea crab habitat in an oyster


Oysters are a keystone species in our surrounding bayshore regions. As they filter feed, they help to clean the waterways. They provide habitat for many other marine species. We study their anatomy via a live dissection and learn about their life cycle and critical role in the ecology of the bay.

Lightering of crude oil


As we sail through the water powered by the wind, students identify various sources of renewable and non-renewable energy, discuss the pros and cons of each, and share ideas for increased conservation of energy regardless of its source.

Education sailors viewing marsh grass


Our on board wetlands tank allows students to see, feel and smell the components of our marshes... the mud, the plants and some of the critters. Through the aid of a word scramble and metaphor game, students self-discover the importance of this critical habitat.

Crab blowing bubbles


(Offered only in select ports). Students haul in the 16' otter trawl net and then analyze the "catch". There is no better way to make a connection with this marine life than to scoop them up from the water yourself and be able to touch or hold them. This connection helps to create an appreciation for keeping their environment clean.

Reading a navigation chart

Customized Stations

If there is a subject that you would like covered during an Education Sail that is not included in the list above, we would be happy to discuss tailoring a station to meet your curriculum needs. Past examples include shipboard math applications, simple machines / mechanical advantage, navigation, sail theory, knot tying and Native American history.

All education stations are hands-on, interactive and meet New Jersey core curriculum standards. Programs are designed for grades 4 and up.

Capacity:  The Schooner AJ Meerwald can accommodate up to 41 total passengers including students, teachers and chaperones.
Education Sail Times:  Normally 9:00 am - 12:00 pm OR 1:00 - 4:00 pm seven days a week seasonally
Cost:  The fee for the Education Sail outlined above is $825.
Contact the Shipboard Program Coordinator at or 856-785-2060 ext. 107 with questions or to book a sail aboard the Schooner AJ Meerwald.
In addition to our Education Sails, we offer Camps and Adventures for children and adults.

Print an Education Sail brochure

Testimonials from Education Sails

We love feedback!
  • “I like the mix of history with the science. Cross-curricular approach was nice touch.”
    Dawes Avenue School
  • “Overall an excellent educational hands-on experience not only for the students but for the adults as well. Staff was very accommodating and great with the students.”
    Waterford Elementary School
  • “I’ve been doing this for a long time and each year I enjoy it even more than the year before.”
    Gloucester Catholic High School
  • “We had an awesome time. The kids were engaged the whole time. Three hours flew by!”
    Jordan Road School