The Shannon River Marine Heritage Plan


Unlike other charitable boating programs that use small boats for sailors or pontoon boats for anglers with limited mobility, our focus is to (1) provide the appropriate mid-size boats that have accessible lavatory and ease-of-boarding features for extended fishing and/or day trips for affiliate clubs and (2) create an organization to open up the world of water recreation to all those with disabilities nationwide.  Our powerboats and sailboats will incorporate specially engineered equipment to meet the needs of persons with disabilities who are totally precluded from this therapeutic and curative sport:


  • Stern power lift mechanism for easy, safe dockside boarding
  • Side door ramp for side boarding
  • Flush one-level cockpit for wheelchair and
  • Knees-under dashboard helm station
  • Accessible lavatory and wide passageways
  • Specially designed Diad rig for easy sail control on SRMHF sailboats





It was a beautiful October day in New England, perfect for a boat ride on Pilar. Everyone had a such a good  time!

Thanks to the generous donations of many, the  SRMHF Power Boat Pilot Program has already completed its work using the beautifully restored 2015 wood replica of Ernest Hemingway’s 1934 sport fishing boat Pilar, (video above) widely acclaimed as the most famous American sport fishing craft of all time.  Pilar has a unique layout with its wide side decks and spacious cockpit which has been modified with special provisions for safe wheelchair seating and includes a hydraulic lift for access to the cabin and head below.  SRMHF will use the new ADA approved boat dock located in Bristol (see photo to left). Pilar's contribution to SRMH will be to travel along the east coast to boat shows and high visibility locations to promote public awareness of those facing the challenge of living daily with disabilities, and to structure partnerships with other regional charitable and volunteer groups that have the same adaptive boating goals.

Ernest Hemingway fishing aboard Pilar

Ernest Hemingway fishing aboard Pilar

Pilar Heads South for the Winter 2016-2017!


In December 2016, Pilar will be heading south to Florida for the winter months to join Shake-A-Leg Miami's adaptive watersports community. While berthed in Miami, Pilar will promote public awareness to the shortfall in therapeutic recreational boating for veterans and others with disabilities. Plans are underway for Pilar to offer scheduled fishing and boating excursions free to our wounded heroes under the management of Shake-A-Leg Miami, and make other opportunities available for those with physical or mental challenges.

Our Plan for the Future

After the initial startup costs, the SRMHF has a self-sustaining business model that will allow it to expand the program regionally.  Uniquely designed adaptive boats will be available to other regional organizations whose mission and scope aligns with that of the SRMHF.


When SRMHF's flagship boat Pilar is not being used to take veterans and the disabled out on the water fishing, ticket sales for public harbor tours and charter fishing excursions will also be a source of funds dedicated to the Shannon River Marine Heritage Foundation.