Retro River Rats Rite

A 1976 River Rats crew Photo/courtesy Marc Edelman, Facebook

Call it a ratty reprise …

Summers in the Rumson-Fair Haven area are rife with river-oriented activities that have become tradition.

River Rats’ sailing “camp” is no exception. OK, nobody was camping per se. It was more like a little club. Still is. In fact, it’s that time of the year when kids start signing up for summer River Rats fun. In fact, it’s about that time to sign up for the Rats season.

It’s been a sort of rite of living on the Navesink passage for decades — since 1955. Kids learn how to boat and do a lot of summer fun bonding in the process.

It all started like this: “In October 1955 shortly after he moved from New York, Captain Walter Isbrandtsen wrote to a friend: ‘I have purchased a house in a small community on the New Jersey coast where I am gradually becoming active … in an organization known as Dads Incorporated … whose activities include a newly established program designed to take full advantage of a neighboring river …'” Captain Isbrandtsen organized the family-oriented sailing group and became the first Skipper of River Rats, as it is written in the River Rats’ biographical history.

So, the Retro Pic of the Day takes us back to the U.S.A. bicentennial year of 1976 and a bunch of young River Rats.

This crew is comprised mostly of RFH classmates who gathered by the boat launch at the end of Battin Road in Fair Haven to offer a glimpse of their day as a reminder of what growing up on the river is all about.

Sail on! Recognize anyone?

— Elaine Van Develde