10 Boating and Fishing Charities to Consider Supporting & How to Get Involved
Boating engenders strong bonds and a sense of community. In fact, it’s a community that increasingly gives back, both to those who deserve a helping hand and to the betterment of the marine environment.
Here are 10 boating and fishing charities worthy of support (listed in alphabetical order), with details on how you can get involved—more than simply writing a check.
C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation
“C.A.S.T.” stands for “Catch a Special Thrill,” and if you’ve ever caught a fish, you surely know that feeling. The non-profit started in 1991 as a way to pair fishing enthusiasts with special-needs kids. While it continues to do that, C.A.S.T. for Kids additionally introduces city-based children to the sport. Furthermore, it assists service members transitioning to civilian life and their families, encouraging enjoyment of outdoor recreation to support positive social interactions.
To learn more or donate, visit C.A.S.T. for Kids.
Coast Guard Foundation
From enlistment to well after they’ve retired, Coast Guard members get vital support from the Coast Guard Foundation. For instance, it provides much-needed fitness equipment to help personnel stay in peak form when responding to emergencies in all sorts of sea and weather conditions. The Foundation also provides scholarships to service members as well as their sons and daughters, and helps support the families of those killed in the line of duty.
To learn more or donate, visit the Coast Guard Foundation.
Hands Across the Sea
While several Caribbean nations are English-speaking, literacy resources like libraries and access to books are scarce. That’s where Hands Across the Sea makes a difference. In Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada, it’s placed more than half a million books into schools and libraries for kids up to grade 12. It also has a preschool literacy program.
To learn more or donate, visit Hands Across the Sea.
International SeaKeepers Society
Oceanographic conservation, education, and research are the pillars of the International SeaKeepers Society. Specifically, the non-profit connects owners of privately owned yachts with scientists in need of a platform to conduct their studies. Furthermore, SeaKeepers engages boat owners interested in being citizen scientists, supplying materials to collect water samples on behalf of researchers. Finally, it works with boat owners who lend their vessels for as little as a few hours as floating classrooms.
To learn more or donate, visit the International SeaKeepers Society.
One More Wave
Founded and run by active-duty Navy SEALs who love to surf and know the ocean’s calming and healing power, One More Wave provides surf therapy to wounded or disabled veterans, to reduce their suicide rates. It creates custom surfboards, wetsuits, and gear for them, plus organizes meet-ups where veterans and surfing enthusiasts from all walks of life create community.
To learn more or donate, visit One More Wave.
Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center
Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of the renowned Jacques Cousteau, is a third-generation ocean explorer and passionate about marine conservation and education. The Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center teaches people in coastal communities about habitat destruction, ocean acidification, pollution, and of course aquatic protection. It also runs sea turtle, mangrove, and reef restoration programs.
To learn more or donate, visit Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center.
Rocking the Boat
Students from the South Bronx learn not just how to build boats, but also how to develop self-confidence thanks to Rocking the Boat. Boat handling, sailing, navigating, and more on-the-water skills are complementary components to the boatbuilding program. They’re as important as the lessons on leadership and cooperation. Rocking the Boat points to a 96-percent on-time high-school graduation rate among its students as proof of its success.
To learn more or donate, visit Rocking the Boat.
Sailors for the Sea
According to this non-profit, the amount of plastic being dumped into the world’s oceans each year equates about two garbage trucks unloading every minute. It’s spreading the word about how single-use plastics break down into microscopic pieces swallowed by sea life and provides actionable steps to take to make a difference. Sailors for the Sea also provides toolkits to run “clean” regattas and a handy guide to ensure you boat clean and green.
To learn more or donate, visit Sailors for the Sea.
For nearly 30 years, Shake-a-Leg Miami has been supporting individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities as well as their families through watersports. The goal is to help them develop confidence and increase their fitness through sailing and other water activities as well as educational programs. The larger goal is to open the eyes of communities to how adaptive sports opens up a world of possibilities.
To learn more or donate, visit Shake-a-Leg Miami.
Over the past 15 years, YachtAid Global has helped deliver aid to communities in need in more than 25 different countries, all with the assistance of yacht owners and crews. For example, earlier this year, it coordinated the delivery of 20 tons of relief to Fiji following a devastating cyclone. A few superyachts carried hygiene kits, mosquito nets, food, tarps, and even toys. During the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, it mobilized the collection and delivery of 83,000 meals, 1,250 water filters, and other necessities.
To learn more or donate, visit YachtAid Global.
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Editor's Note: This article was originally published in May 2017 and updated in October 2021.