Shipboard Volunteers

AJ Meerwald Shipboard Volunteer


Sharing area history with students

The Schooner AJ Meerwald sails from April through October. As a Shipboard Volunteer, you can assist the crew in sailing the tall ship, greeting passengers, or presenting educational programs.

To qualify as a Shipboard Volunteer, you must complete the Shipboard Training Program scheduled annually at the Bayshore Center. Options to make up training will be available for those with scheduling conflicts or distance constraints.

Stay tuned to our facebook page to find the next scheduled Volunteer Orientation or Call 856-785-2060 ext. 108 to make a reservation for the next orientation session.

Shipboard training includes plenty of practical hands-on experience. You will learn traditional boating skills (knots, line handling, navigation and more), plus ship maintenance, safety, regional history, and the environmental and historical education programs presented on board.

No previous experience is necessary, but shipboard volunteers must be at least 18 years old. Teens 14-17 years old may attend training and volunteer on board if accompanied by an adult volunteer.

There is no additional charge for training, but shipboard volunteers must be BCB Members (see Membership page), commit to 20 hours of onshore volunteer work and to a minimum of five days on board the ship each year.

All prospective volunteers need to fill out a Volunteer Application form where you can indicate ways you would like to get involved. Click here to access the application form. Complete both sides and return to or 2800 High Street, Port Norris, NJ 08349.

Volunteers need not live in south Jersey! Those who live close to another port-of-call can come aboard when the AJ Meerwald is in their area, or help spread the word in advance of her arrival - distributing brochures or staffing an information booth at a local event or festival.

Ports-of-call can include Bivalve, Burlington, Camden, Greenwich, Jersey City, Perth Amboy, Alpine, Barnegat Light (LBI), Atlantic City & Cape May, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Baltimore and Chestertown, MD; Portsmouth, VA. Visit our sailing schedule for details.

If you have questions or would like to sign up as a Shipboard Volunteer, contact us at

Learn about other ways to volunteer at Bayshore Center at Bivalve by visiting our Get Involved page.

The Bayshore Center at Bivalve the nonprofit owner and operator of the AJ Meerwald announced that the historic 1928 Delaware Bay Oyster Schooner and New Jersey’s Official Tall Ship has a new captain. “We are delighted Captain Johann Steinke will be joining us for our 2018 sailing season” said Mark Showers, Board President of the Bayshore Center.
Born in Canada, Captain Steinke was raised in Fresno, California, far from the ocean. He got into sailing and tall ships after seeing the movie “Master and Commander”. From that point on, he wanted to learn more about old wooden sailing ships and their history. Since then he has worked and lived on many different tall ships over the last 12 years, ranging from schooners and square riggers, to an epic journey on a replica Viking warship. He has also recently published a children’s book called, “The Greatest Captain in the World” which he says, “is most definitely not an autobiography”.
“My wife and I are excited about the move east and sailing the waters in and around New Jersey” said Captain Steinke adding “the AJ Meerwald is a beautiful ship”. Captain Steinke takes the helm of the AJ Meerwald at an exciting time. The ninety-year-old ship is undergoing major improvements including a new engine and generator thanks to the generous support of the David Rutherford Estate. Mr. Rutherford, a local Cape May resident and philanthropist pasted away last year and left the Bayshore Center at Bivalve a sizable bequest. “Without the generous support of David Rutherford and so many other people the AJ Meerwald would not be what she is today” said Showers.

Interim Director’s Letter

Dear Friends of BCB;

I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have this opportunity to work at the Bayshore Center.  I am sure you all know what a wonderful place it is.  As a newcomer looking at it with a fresh eye I can assure you it is not only wonderful but also unique, and that is all because of people like you, its supporters.

As I write this I am reminded of a quote by Thich Nhat Hanh “If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all the generations of your ancestors.  All of them are live in this moment.  Each is present in your body.  You are the continuation of each of these people”.  I know I am the benefactor of the work that all of you have done and I promise I will work to be a good steward.

I would also like to thank Meghan Wren for her warm welcome, her support, help and encouragement.  Her work of the last 30 years has benefited so many people I would not venture to guess how many.  Her legacy runs broad and deep and while I missed the first 30 years of her impact on the world I am glad to have the opportunity to witness what comes next.

If you are at BCB please stop in and say hello!

Brian Keenan, Interim Director

Spring on the Bayshore

Spring 2017 at the Bayshore - Daffodils

The MEERWALD’s up the River, the oysterboats are back in the Nantuxent Creek and new buds, green sprouts, happy bulbs and amorous birds seem to have overtaken the gray landscape of the winter Bayshore. The Bayshore Center is also experiencing a period of new growth.  After 30 years – yes 30! – we have received a most generous donation that has allowed us to assess our strategies for longevity and sustainability.  It is often a non-profit’s greatest challenge to outlive its founder. Bayshore Center at Bivalve has been given the opportunity to structure itself so that programming and mission delivery can be institutionalized, the MEERWALD’s continued preservation can be guaranteed and the organization can ensure that it remains relevant to its community into the foreseeable future. 

With these goals in mind, we have hired an Interim Executive Director to shoulder BCB’s daily operations while I take a short sabbatical to refresh and prepare for my next role. My next job will be to focus on building a Founders Fund to serve as  working capital and an endowment with which we can secure our future.

When I return from my sabbatical, the organization will embark on a strategic planning exercise to frame our mission, vision and strategic action plans to direct our next steps. Spring 2017 at the Bayshore

After many years of long days, weeks, and months,  missed vacations,  little time for family and friends, and a near obsessive (OK, it was obsessive) focus on all things BCB – I am more than ready for this reboot.

And, I look forward to my refreshed return this fall as the birds start heading south again to work with our Board of Trustees, our Grande Mariners and our wonderful Bayshore community to build the Founders Fund and prepare for the next thirty years.

Happy Spring!

Meghan, soon to be BCB’s new Founding Director