Toms River Maritime Museum
PO Box 1111
Toms River, NJ 08754
(732) 349-9209

Places Nearby:
Ocean County Historical Society
Robert J. Novins Planetarium
Cooper Environmental Center
Ocean Gate Museum
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The beautiful Barnegat Bay area and the intracoastal waters of New Jersey feature shallow estuaries and bays that provide habitat for the blue crab, flounder, bay scallop, cherrystone clam, and a variety of other marine animals. The lives and livelihood of area residents demanded unique watercraft -- for gathering the abundant harvest of the sea, for recreation and sport, and for greater necessities, such as saving lives. These people, their activities, and the fascinating small vessels they created constitute a rich maritime heritage that is a joy and an inspiration to all who care to explore it.

The Toms River Seaport Society was founded in 1976 to " . . . preserve where possible and recreate when necessary, the unique history of those bygone days when schooners, catboats, and special purpose small craft sailed New Jersey's coastal waters." To this end, the Society created the Maritime Museum, featuring a collection of some twenty-six small craft, as well as a variety of marine-related artifacts and models.

Visitors will find, among other craft, the Sheldrake, a 12-foot sneakbox in which the late F. Slade Dale cruised from Bay Head to New York, and then on to Florida in the fall of 1925; a 1902 Perrine sneakbox; a Beaton 15-foot Sailing Sneakbox; a lifesaving surf rowboat; a Barnegat Bay garvey; a Beardslee Rowboat; and a Hankins rowing skiff.

The Museum occupies the 1868 Carriage House which served the estate of Joseph Francis, developer of the "Lifecar." The Francis Lifecar and lifeboats were credited with saving more than 2,500 lives by the mid-1800's. Francis was presented with a Congressional "Medal of Honor" by President Harrison in 1890 for his maritime inventions and improvements. One Museum exhibit focuses on this man and his unique craft.

Individuals, families and groups can participate in a number of special events each year, usually during summer months. The annual Wooden Boat Festival features exhibits, demonstrations and exciting boat races.

Boat Restoration Workshops and other maritime classes are available for individuals Groups, including School Groups, can enjoy educational Tours as well as an instructional Slide Show. Call the Museum for details.

Hours: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 10am - 2pm. Groups may be able to tour at other times by appointment. Call.

Admission: By donation.

Group Reservations: About 4 weeks in advance.

Lunch: Nearby restaurants. Groups may picnic on lawn (bring blanket).

Handicapped Access: Accessible except for restrooms.

Directions: I-76 East to Rt. 70 East to Lakehurst, NJ. West on Rt. 37 to Tom's River. Rt. 37 becomes Water Street. Continue to Hooper Avenue, turn left. Museum is at intersection. 60 - 90 minutes from Philadelphia.

Copyright © 1996-2014 by Patrick Tadeushuk. All Rights Reserved.