BUILD A BOAT, MAKE IT FLOAT

Scenes from the 2009 edition of the Wooden Boat Festival. (Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Since 1999, the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association has been hosting an annual Wooden Boat Festival, a community event that brings together water enthusiasts and amateur carpenters alike.

This weekend, the thirteenth edition of the boatbuilding event takes place behind the Fair Haven Fire House.

The goal: to build a canoe in six hours.

Starting at 8 a.m. Saturday under large tents, would-be boatbuilders will assemble to find all the materials and tools they’ll need.

Assisted by expert boatbuilders, teams and individuals will work throughout the day – with lunch provided – and again Sunday, until about 2 p.m., when the finished products will be taken down Batten Road to the boat ramp for their launch into the Navesink River. Paddles and life jackets will be provided.

Approximately 100 “six-hour canoes,” a simple design requiring just two sheets of plywood, have been built at the event over the years, and the resulting colorfully-painted vessels have been an integral part of NMHA’s River Rangers summer program.

Although there are no slots left for those hoping to participate, “anyone can come down and watch and see if this is something they’d maybe like to do next year,” said NMHA officer Michael Humphreys. For more information, he can be reached at 908-902-1150.