About Us and Our Mission
The Shannon River Marine Heritage Foundation (SRMHF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities as well as our post 9/11 servicemen and women who have been wounded mentally or physically over the course of their duties. For such individuals, the SRMHF seeks to provide access to the recreational sports of boating, fishing and sailing aboard specifically adapted yachts that have been modified to ensure the highest degree of participation regardless of the individuals’ required accommodations.
The SRMHF designed its specially adapted boats using three core principles:
1. Recreational fishing, boating and sailing is a therapeutic and curative experience
that can and should be enjoyed by everyone
2. Every person, regardless of physical ability or age related mobility issues, can be an
active participant in the fishing, boating and sailing experience
3. Access to dignified boarding, cooking and lavatory facilities is an integral part of
being an active participant
- Introduce the restorative powers of outdoor, fresh air fishing, boating and sailing and the
magic of the sea to the most deserving members of our society;
- Re-introduce the experience of boating to those who incurred a disability and were
forced to give up the water recreation they once loved;
- SRMHF program will become a model for other regional groups to bring fishing and
boating to those currently precluded from the sport due to accessibility issues;
- Provide a venue for members to have fun and enjoyment;
- Enhance the lives of members through camaraderie and lasting friendships in
community-based boating clubs;
- Create public awareness of the adversities facing persons with disabilities and the
shortage of water recreational opportunities existing today for those people;
- Help people struggling with physical and emotional challenges to regain their
confidence and self-assurance.
Our Objectives and Goals
Many people have enjoyed boating, fishing and/or sailing their entire lives, then they incur a disability either through the extreme sacrifice of serving their country or in an unfortunate accident. The idea of boating again is overwhelming and their disabilities are seen as insurmountable. There is no reason why people with disabilities or limited mobility should be precluded from the documented psychological and curative benefits of fishing, sailing and extended boating experiences because of lavatory access and dignified boarding procedures.
We believe that with the right boats that have our specially engineered adaptive boating equipment installed, and with training and education, everyone, regardless of their disadvantage, can share in the joys of fishing and boating. Through participation in our program, those limited by special needs will not just be passive passengers, they will have the supervised opportunity to operate and skipper the boat themselves. Our mission is that this knowledge will in turn provide life changing self-confidence to help overcome the adversity and hardship in their daily lives.
The SRMHF program will serve as the model and will partner with other foundations and regional groups to help those in need to find true independence. Our program will enable all participants to become active members and engage in boating related social activities, planned cruising events, and boating education.
SRMHF also recognizes that families and caregivers also share in the emotional aspects of someone with a physical limitation. To meet this need SRMHF will provide access and participation to these important people so they too can find enjoyment in the program.
Over 33,000 people with disabilities including 9,000 disabled veterans live within a 25 mile radius of Bristol, RI. This area encompasses Bristol, Newport, and Providence, Rhode Island; Fall River, MA and New Bedford, MA. Even with goals set at a low ratio of trying to serve only 5% (or 1500 disabled people including 450 disabled veterans) of the total disabled population in the area, SRMHF will struggle to meet the demand with only one or two adaptive boats in operation.
After careful research SRMHF has identified over 350,000 people from the ages of 18 to 74 with some type of disability living in the six New England states including 100,000 disabled veterans that would enjoy the SRMHF type boating experience in New England alone. Those numbers do not reflect those who are dealing with age-related mobility problems. SRMHF plans include helping to set up regional satellite groups to service these people as well as bringing public awareness to the glaring needs of these people.