Day on the Bay in Barnegat Planned

Jun 14, 2017

The Barnegat Recreation Department’s disability advisory board plans a “Day on the Bay” on Sunday, June 25,  from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bob’s Bay Marina, 459 East Bay Ave. Board member Walt Fernandez said the event provides free boat rides for children and adults with special needs. Refreshments will be served.

“Many people with disabilities don’t often get a chance to go out in the water and enjoy a nice summer day,” said Fernandez. “I’m very pleased when I see the smiles on the faces of the people going out on the boats. It makes this event very worthwhile.”

It was at a board meeting more than 10 years ago that Fernandez came up with the idea for the event.

“I was talking about my upcoming weekend on my boat when I realized so many in the room 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?’”

After talking with marinas and township personnel, Fernandez was able to put his plan in place.

“We have people that donate their time, boat and fuel to give rides all day long,” he said. “I have a small team of dedicated volunteers that help with all the land items such as registration, fitting of life jackets to all riders, loading and unloading riders to and from the boats. 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. 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.”

He said the Barnegat Police Department sets up a station for those who want their picture taken. Then their information is put into the police database and riders are given a laminated identity card with their picture on it.

Fernandez said he is also looking for people to donate boats or fuel. Someone looking to make a monetary donation can make the check payable to Township of Barnegat and write “Day on the Bay” in the memo space.

“The Day on the Bay is only able to function due to the kindness and generosity of the community,” he said.

Wonderfully Made, a program for special-needs people at Bayside Chapel in Barnegat, is also helping with the event.

“I think many of our children and adults will want to participate,” said Wonderfully Made director Bill Beuckman. “I’m very glad to be able to help promote this and get many people to enjoy the day.” 

For more information, call the recreation department at 609-698-0080, extension 130, or Fernandez at 609-290-8741. —E.E.

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