​​​​Environmental Sail Program

The Environmental Sail Program (ESP) is a set of New Jersey Friends of Clearwater environmental educational initiatives that revolve around the original Clearwater goal--to build awareness of our environment, the effects of pollution on it, and humans' ability to cause it and to cure it. Like its Sloop Clearwater inspiration, our sailing vessel Pete's Banjo inspires both NJFC volunteers and guests to work as a team to achieve its goals.

Our sailing vessel, Pete's Banjo, is a 26' Tuckerton Sailing Garvey. It is a replica of a design used in the 17th century for oyster and clam gathering work in the shallow waters of the Tuckerton Bay. It is made entirely of wood and has no motor. It has been described as the pickup truck of the 1600's whereas the Sloop Clearwater was the 18-wheeler of the 18th and 19th Century Hudson River.


The Pete's Banjo is docked at the Oyster Point Hotel Marina at the bottom of Bodman Place. 

Latest Status:

For the latest status on Pete's Banjo's Sails and other related ESP activities, please use the following:

1. FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/njfcesp Provides scheduled sails,  ESP events, and feedback

2. TWITTER: https://www.twitter.com/njfcesp  "ESP makes last minute notices just before each sail. Things like weather, etc." Smart Phone text message friendly 


ESP initiatives include:

  1. Sailing, Lots of Sailing. Both NJFC volunteers and guests get to sail on the beautiful Navesink River from June through October. To qualify to sail on the Pete's Banjo requires one thing; show up on scheduled weekly sail days. With ample notice, arrangements can be made with the captains to sail for pleasure or purpose on days other than those scheduled. Email: esp@njclearwater.org or call (732) 784-8547. 
  2. ​Navesink Sea Scout Ship #5: Pete's Banjo is the flagship of Navesink Sea Scout Ship #5 and its young adult membership.
  3. Boat Building. Pete's Banjo was designed, constructed over the past 20 months by Clearwater ESP members to replace the aging Adam Hyler. While the Adam Hyler was a true replica of the centuries' old design and original plank-caulk hull build techniques, the 26 foot Pete's Banjo will follow the design but has been built with modern techniques including fiberglassing the hull to be more maintainable and seaworthy in its role as keystone of our ESP.  The ESP has also teamed with NMHA to act as the flagship to lead and help youngsters navigate their own self-built River Ranger canoes on the Navesink. Pete’s Banjo' crew contributes the environmental lessons and acts as mother ship to the flotilla of young people  seeking unique wildlife upstream or the beauty of the wide Navesink downstream.
  4. Water Testing. ESP has conducted water testing on the Navesink, Shrewsbury, and other water bodies in the area. We would be happy to discuss a joint program with any organization. Our sailboat has two major advantages for this task: it is extremely shallow drafted and is small enough to be trailered to remote locations if the need arises and conditions permit. Email: esp@njclearwater.org.
  5. Nature Tours and Birding on the Navesink can be arranged by calling the above number or the email address.
  6. Oyster Bed Creation And Maintenance. For over five years NJFC ESP had teamed with the NY/NJ Baykeeper Program to re-establish, after many decades, oyster beds in the Navesink River. With strong-willed and youthful volunteers from both programs, we've put down mountains of oyster shells on the riverbed and successfully laid down thousand of immature oysters at the aptly named Oyster Point shoals.  This effort has temporarily stopped due to NJDEP disagreement with Baykeeper.​


For the the full, detailed story  of the planning and construction of Pete's Banjo, it literally can fill up a book. In fact, that is exactly Senior NJFC Captain and program manager Tom Gibson did, he wrote the  book--Building a 26 Foot Tuckerton  Sailing Garvey--detailing all the thought, planning, and over two years of effort, craftsmanship, and fun that  the dedicated construction and garvey crew had by replicating the Tuckerton Garvey once again and dedicating it to the great man who founded the Clearwater organization, Pete Seeger. The Garvey's name came from Pete's constant companion, his banjo, and the inspirational motto that Pete lived by and which is inscribed on his banjo's face: "THIS MACHINE SURROUNDS HATE AND FORCES IT TO SURRRENDER" [sic].  It's the motto that we at NJ Friends of Clearwater and all other Sloop Clearwater members strive to emulate.


Construction, Launching, and Sailing on Pete's Banjo

Sailing on the Adam Hyler​.

  • The River That Flows Both Ways4:36
  • It Really Isn't Garbage3:39
  • This Pretty Planet2:10
  • 4:06

Our original 30-year old replica garvey, the Adam Hyler, was donated to the Tuckerton Seaport Museum in March 2014 while Pete's Banjo was being constructed. When the Seaport museum director first saw the Adam Hyler in 2008, he exclaimed it was the largest and only Sailing Tuckerton Garvey extant. He had campaigned since then to bring it to the Museum. When it finally exceeded its safe lifetime, we donated to a very appreciative Museum. Appropriately we dock at Oyster Point Hotel Marina at the end of Bodman Place in Red Bank, NJ.  The Boat Committee sails and maintains the boat and runs the Environmental Sail Program.​​