In the 1960s and 70s, author Peter Benchley fished for sharks aboard the Cricket II, a boat that fished out of Montauk, N.Y. back then. Benchley then wrote the movie Jaws, in large part based on his experiences on the 42-foot vessel.

The Cricket II is now based out of Beaufort and captained by Joe DiBella, and with its new home comes a new purpose – taking disabled veterans on fishing trips, at no cost to them. Their goal of “enriching the lives of Disabled Veterans and Wounded Warriors with fishing adventures aboard the Cricket II” has been aided by numerous sponsors and donors who helped with extensive restorations to the boat.

“The Cricket II is a wide boat with an open layout. It can easily accommodate wheelchairs, and modifications have been made to make the boat a comfortable and safe fishing platform for veterans,” said Capt. DiBella.

To DiBella, it’s all about giving back to the country’s veterans who have given so much of themselves. The power of a fishing trip to these warriors became evident to DiBella while he watched a group of his anglers on an early fishing trip.

"Before my eyes, I watched a quiet group of men, who got on the boat timid and cautious, become open and engaged, joking that they were now experts at fishing for speckled trout. When the day ended and we headed in, I invited my “expert fishermen” to come up and drive the boat. The smiles on these heroes’ faces when we arrived back at the dock were beyond explanation. It was as if they had a new perspective on life. These experiences have the potential to change people's lives,” he said.

Recent trips have included fishing for tuna, speckled trout, and black sea bass. 

If you are a disabled veteran, or know someone who is, encourage them to take a fishing trip aboard the Cricket II. If you would like to be a part of the team that makes these fishing trips possible, click here to visit their website and see how you can help.