Launching out of the Dana Point Harbor this Sunday, June 4, Dana Point-based nonprofit Fish for Life will celebrate its first fishing trip of the season.
This weekend’s fishing trip marks 14 years of offering free fishing trips to special needs kids and their families.
Starting at 8 a.m., kids can check in and get a T-Shirt. At 9 a.m., Fish for Life uses the stern of the Dana Pride as a podium for local speakers to share a few words ahead of the fishing trip’s launch.
The fishing trips offer a moment for participating kids to shine as Fish for Life rolls out a red carpet down the gangway and introduces each child as they walk down.
The nonprofit aims to bring “dignity, inclusion and new possibilities to special needs children” by offering families an opportunity that they may not otherwise experience.
Proceeds from fundraisers, like the annual Festival of Whales Clam Chowder Cook-off, as well as donations and sponsorships help the nonprofit offer four to six fishing trips a year aboard the Dana Pride.
Each trip usually takes 30 kids, with ages ranging from 8 years old to those in their early 20s. In addition to the 30 special needs children, 30 chaperones and 40 volunteers are typically aboard each voyage.
Once everyone is aboard, Fish for Life stops at the bait barge before heading out of the harbor with a fireboat escort provided by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Along the fishing trip, marine biologists aboard share facts about marine life. For entertainment, the ship will often encounter “pirates,” “mermaids” and deep-sea divers.
After a day of fishing, the ship will return to the harbor by 3 p.m.
This year, Fish for Life is offering five fishing trips from June through October: June 4; July 16; Aug. 26; Sept. 25; and Oct. 22.
For those interested in registering their child for a fishing trip or to volunteer, visit fishforlife.org or call 949.285.8819.