Wounded veterans are discovering the healing effects of a day on the water through Blue Water Warriors.
The non-profit organization takes the men and women out in a specially designed adaptive boat that features gyrostabilization donated by Seakeeper.
The program began when yacht captain Andrew Grego met a charter guest who was battling cancer, yet experiencing respite through the restorative nature of the sea. She introduced him to a veteran severely injured in Afghanistan who, in turn, led him to more vets at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
From this, Grego started Blue Water Warriors. He needed to build a stable boat to accommodate the unique needs of injured veterans, so Grego turned to Seakeeper.
"Without them, there's no way we could have afforded to do what we've done,” Grego said in a statement.
"We're proud to be part of the Blue Water Warriors team," Seakeeper vice president of sales and marketing Andrew Semprevivo said. "Our desire is simply for our technology to help those who have served us so well."
Warrior is a custom 37.5-foot off-center console sportfishing boat. The extra-wide swing-open transom and side doors and deck-level boarding ramps allow easy entry. An oversize, dual-level head includes a floor that lowers electronically for wheelchair access.
For fishermen, there's a specially adapted, custom-built fighting chair and harnesses. Veterans can snorkel or simply go cruising and restaurant-hopping. Everything on the vessel is designed to minimize limitations.
The Seakeeper gyro reduces resonant roll by as much as 90 percent whether the boat is at rest or underway.
"Some who go out are on prosthetics, in a wheelchair or use crutches," Grego said. "To have a stable platform out on the water is a huge advantage. They don't need to get hurt any more than they are."
"I'm humbled by the generosity you've shown me," Air Force SNR SGT Andrew Casey said after spending time on Warrior. "Through people like you the invisible wounds of war will be healed."
Vision Boat of Fort Lauderdale is building Blue Water Warriors’ second boat. The organization's goal is to have six vessels near military hospitals on the eastern seaboard.