"I'm on a Boat!": Everything You Need to Know About Burning on a Boat at Gratitude Migration

It’s safe to say that one of the highlights of Gratitude Migration is its idyllic location on the beach with the backdrop of the New York City skyline in the not-so-distant horizon. From boat camping, to art boats, to marine art, and inflatable floaties galore; water is a key element to this festival experience.

When Aaron Whittington, one of Migration’s three Harbormasters (along with fellow crew mates Alex and Drew) met Carrie Anne from the Gratitude team while attending PEX Costa Rica this past winter, he felt a strong calling to participate more. When he mentioned to her that he worked with boats, it seemed like a no-brainer to have him get involved with the maritime side of Migration.

I had never heard of boats at festivals before. It sounded like a fun way to get involved.

What exactly do the Harbormasters do? In short, they make the boat aspect of Migration happen, and safely.

Located on the Raritan Bay shore, the beach location of Gratitude Migration is accessible through deep water channels up to and within a mile or less of the shore.

Any Migrators who travel to the festival via boat will be helped by the Harbormaster team to anchor to the boat area. Here, they will be met by one of the crew, who will facilitate security inspection and coast guard clearance. They’ll help them get registered for the festival, and make sure they’re set to have a great (and safe) time.

In the shallow waters - about 4 feet deep - the boats can still remain close to shore. Though the Gratitude Migration team is working diligently to secure a launch/dinghy service to transport people from their vessels and shore, it is recommended that boat-goers come prepared with kayaks, rafts with paddles, SUPs - to float back and forth between their vessel and the festival.

Still haven’t registered your boat? More info here.

Water, Art Boats and Installations

Burning on a boat doesn't just mean camping in luxury. Burning Man's art boats get a one up with the art boats that will join us at Gratitude Migration. The water will also serve as the canvas for some local artists to feature their interactive art pieces as well. We had the opportunity to catch up with a few artists about their pieces that will be featured this year.


'Waterborn', envisioned by artists ‘Lizzy’ Beth Elkins and Altair, will be an interactive vision of the moment of birth placed within the placental fluid of the north Jersey ocean - a 12 foot tall inflatable baby's head featuring interactive elements. This is the second incarnation of a project called Kinetic Child, which was displayed in 2013 at Burning Man. The 'Waterborn' baby head will float in the shallow water just off the beach, featuring an entrance-way via a floating tongue through the baby's open mouth. The baby's eyes will be beach balls. The illusion of the baby's body will be imagined by spectators to be living just below the water's surface. Once inside, participants will be able to puppeteer the eyes or slide out of the tongue.The inside of the head will feature paintings of ordinary objects that hold symbolic power in the lives of most human beings.

We help people’s boats get registered and anchored. We give them a framework to follow and have fun. Participants can do so many cool things on their boats. They can host all sorts of activities, classes and events on their boat.

Brandon Robinson's Underwater Animation

An underwater LED project will be featured by Brandon Robinson. His art project is “aesthetically based in the world of retro futuristic space punk” and involves animated underwater LEDs both along buoy paths and submerged in the ocean.

The Best Part About Burning On a Boat?

You're Burning on a Boat! Imagine inflatable water-based pieces of art; turning your houseboat with the theme camp of your dreams; or performing aerials surrounded by a sea of calm blue.

There are a host of other art pieces and art boats that will come to life in Keansburg this year - but you’ll have to come and ‘Summer Dream’ to see them for yourself!