Area Boating Group Learns About Local History

SCOTCH PLAINS — Robert O’Brien, president and one of the founders of the New Jersey Museum of Boating, presented an illustrated talk on the history of boating in New Jersey at the general membership meeting of the Watchung Sail and Power Squadron on Tuesday, June 14 at Snuffy’s Pantagis Restaurant.

The talk began with the discovery of New Jersey and Barnegat Inlet by Henry Hudson while he was searching for a northwest passage to India. New Jersey is almost entirely surrounded by water with only about 46 miles of land border with New York State. O’Brien also explained the origins of the Sea Bright Skiff and how its lapstrake construction is the legacy of the Viking heritage of the Swedish Quakers, who originally had settled in Swedesboro but moved on to Sea Bright.


The speaker also regaled the group with the history of the establishment of the New Jersey Life Saving Stations which were the precursor of the United States Coast Guard. He informed the group that at the time of the naming of New Jersey as the Garden State, there was actually more income in New Jersey being derived from boatbuilding than from growing produce.

O’Brien is also a past president of the New Jersey Historical Society. The New Jersey Museum of Boating is located in Point Pleasant at Johnson Brothers Boat Works, Buildings 12 and 13.

The commander of Watchung Sail and Power Squadron is Tracy Swackhamer of Westfield.

Watchung Sail and Power Squadron Commander Tracy Swackhamer thanks Robert O’Brien of The New Jersey Museum of Boating for presenting program at general membership meeting on June 14. (Photo courtesy of the Watchung Sail and Power Squadron)

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