As a lifelong fisherman and boater, retired Army Lt. Col. Tim Hoffman and his daughter Ann launched Vets On The Water in 2014 to help those who had served in combat.
The Maine-based nonprofit is dedicated to helping active duty, disabled veterans and Gold Star families experience and enjoy time on the water. Activities include fresh and saltwater fishing, sailing, cruising and ice fishing.
The industry has supported Hoffman’s endeavor, and over the Memorial Day weekend, another boat was added to his fleet.
He received a specially-adapted SunChaser Geneva 22 Fish Deluxe pontoon by Smokercraft, equipped with a Yamaha outboard engine, electronics from Raymarine, and a trailer from Bass Pro Shops, according to a blog by Taco Marine.
Smokercraft sales vice president Phil Smoker said it was the second boat donated to the cause; the addition of the pontoon provides veterans in wheelchairs an opportunity to participate because of the accessible boarding and ability to more easily maneuver around the deck.
“We love what he’s doing for our vets and we hope that the program only continues to grow,” Smoker said.
Shortly after the program first launched, Hoffmann reached out to Taco for some aluminum rod holders.
After speaking with Mike Kushner, Taco’s sales and marketing vice president, Hoffmann said he was surprised when a pair of brand new Grand Slam Outrigger Mounts, Aluminum Tele-Outrigger Poles and a pair of 4-rod Aluminum Rod Holders arrived at his house five days later.
“I think we’re the only people in the country who are using outriggers for fishing mackerel, which is a very small fish,” said Hoffmann. “But it allows us to get another two or more lines in the water and not get tangled.”