Since 1999, NMHA has conducted community boatbuilding in Red Bank and Fair Haven. Over 120 wooden canoes have been built by families, schools, scout troops, and non-profit community groups.
The annual weekend event teaches novices to measure, cut and build finished canoes that they launch and paddle. Pride and a sense of accomplishment are felt by youths and adults. These uniquely designed and decorated boats have become the signature for the River Rangers summer educational program.
Sea Scouts is a co-ed program of Boy Scouts of America that focuses on maritime skills, history, and careers.
Sea Scout Ship 5/Navesink has an active crew, three of whom recently achieved their Sea Scout Apprentice rank. Based in the Red Bank area, the crew of Ship 5 is busy learning the skills that enable them to pilot and navigate boats and appreciate the maritime environment around NJ. Additionally, they interact with maritime organizations and Sea Scout ships in our region.
The crew is also engaged in community service. They assisted in refurbishing the “Adam Hyler” garvey (owned by the NJ Friends of Clearwater and now at Tuckerton Seaport), a Hankins skiff, and NMHA canoes. They are important volunteers for our canoeing events, River Rangers, and other activities.
Every year since 2002, NMHA has invited presenters to speak on the maritime history of the New Jersey region.
These public meetings feature unique history of local boatbuilders and historical maritime activities.
This focus on maritime history of our region culminated in the 2011 publication of the book Chronology of Boating on the Navesink River by Rik van Hemmen.
Documenting the Henry Schaefer model boat collection at Bahrs’ Restaurant is ongoing.
Several students from Red Bank Regional High School, Rumson-Fair Haven High School, and High Tech High School spent time over the last couple of years creating a catalog of photos and descriptions of the boats. Barr Turner, from High Tech High School, used his work on the project to get into Webb University!
One of the projects connected to the collection is the creation of a series of coasters, each displaying a different boat. To date, five different boats have a coaster. You can obtain these by contacting NMHA.
A related accomplishment: NMHA’s article “High Performance in Education” was published in the April 2013 edition of Marine Technology, Society for Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.
NMHA events vary from year to year.Occasionally we retire a program for a few years and other times we organize programs depending on public demand or specific community needs.
For our upcoming events visit our events page
River Rangers is NMHA's popular and award-winning program for 10 to 14 year old students.
Paddling on the Navesink River with canoes built by our community boat building program, students discover and appreciate the environment in which they live. Learning about the rivers, tides, and marine life within those rivers is exciting.
Guided by experienced and certified instructors, students to develop self-confidence, self-reliance, and teamwork.
Parents of the River Rangers program asked if they could paddle the same canoes in which their kids had such fun.
Now, NMHA offers public canoeing events each year up the Swimming River from Chris' Marina, Red Bank.
The Tuckerton River Sailing Garvey is indigenous to New Jersey, dating from 1732. New Jersey Friends of Clearwater has been sailing a reproduction in its Environmental Sail Program.
The boat is 26 feet long, flat bottom, two masts with one sail each. The sails are bark tan, sprit rigged.
As part of our focus on maritime history, NMHA will be participating in the national, state, county, and local events around the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Rik van Hemmen, President.
Mary Gerdes, Vice President & Treasurer.
Michael Humphreys, Secretary.
Chuck Abel, Trustee
Tom Gibson, Trustee
Charles Ladoulis, Past President, Board Member
One of NMHA’s long-time goals has been to find a permanent home. In 2014 NMHA leased the historic Grover House from Middletown. We are continuing a long term restoration so the building can serve as our headquarters for programs to discover, educate, and sustain our maritime heritage.
NMHA has long been aware of the opportunities for using boat building skills to enhance classroom STEM education. (STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math skills). STEM is an important component of current educational practice, and NMHA is considering how our organization can expand our services to engage teachers and students at all levels.
NMHA has joined with the Teaching With Small Boats Association for this purpose. TWSBA has a wealth of resources and experience that would benefit teachers and students in the Two River area.