Barnegat Leader

Donations Needed for Barnegat ‘Day on the Bay’

By ERIC ENGLUND | May 17, 2019

Barnegat Township — Since 2006, a summer tradition in Barnegat Township has been the Day on the Bay, where adults and children with special needs enjoy free boat rides. This year’s event is scheduled for Sunday, July 28, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Sherer’s Boat Basin, 482 East Bay Ave.

But to make the event happen, coordinator Walt Fernandez said he is seeking people who can donate boats and fuel to give rides. Monetary donations are also accepted; checks can be made payable to: “Township of Barnegat” and with “Day on the Bay” written in the memo area. Then mail to Walt Fernandez, 31 Fifth St., Barnegat, N.J. 08005.

“With the money donations, we are able to have food, drinks, giveaway items, and we also send every rider home with a picture of themselves at Day on the Bay,” he said. “We now even have had a DJ for the past several years, and all the riders just love that. Not only do they get a boat ride, but they even get to dance or even sing while holding the microphone. The Barnegat police set up a station for those who want their picture taken, and then their info is put into the police database and the rider is given a laminated identity card with their picture on it.”

Fernandez said the idea for the event was spawned when he was a member of the township recreation department disabilities board, which plans events for people with special needs.

“I realized so many special needs people had never been on or thought to be on a boat,” he said. “I thought to myself, ‘How is this possible? You live near the Jersey Shore and never have been on a boat?’ So I went home that day and thought. During the next several days I went to the local marinas and asked if they would be willing to rent me some boats. They looked at me funny and asked for what. When I told them what I had in mind, they said that they wanted to participate as well. Then I went to the town and I asked if they would insure us for the day, and they said yes once I again explained what I wanted to do.”

For more information, call Fernandez at 609-290-8741. —E.E.

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