Recreational Fishing and Boating Industries Donate to Charities

Manufacturers of recreational-fishing gear and boats give back, donating hundreds of thousands to nonprofit organizations.

December 22, 2016
Mercury Marine donation
Mercury Marine, which donated $80,000 to United Way’s Wisconsin chapters in Fond du Lac and Oshkosh, is one of many sport-fishing industries that gave back to the community in 2016. Courtesy of Mercury Marine

In this holiday season, Sport Fishing magazine reached out to some of the fishing/boating industry’s top manufacturers, retailers and resorts so we might recognize the ways in which these businesses give back to the community.

Through monetary and/or product donations , the organizations listed here all support more than one charity. Read a description of how each gives back to the community and nation.


AFTCO logo
AFTCO Courtesy of AFTCO

The apparel company’s list of recipients is lengthy. The organization donated in 2016 to: the American Sportfishing Association, Coastal Conservation Association California, Center for Sportfishing Policy, Dolphin Research Program, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute and International Gamefish Association to the tune of more than $350,000 in cash and $100,000 in product, totaling $450,000.


Bill Shedd, the company’s president, says all of the recipient organizations “are doing good work for the sport-fishing industry, the angler and/or the marine resource.” That summarizes why the company felt compelled to offer help.

“In 2016, AFTCO people also contributed their time to help support various sport-fishing organizations and causes,” Shedd continues. “For example, AFTCO production manager Dave Elm and AFTCO operations manager Christie Shedd helped run the Balboa Angling Club.”

The company president says he spent more than 600 hours volunteering for various sport-fishing efforts and serving on multiple boards of non-profit organizations.


Crocodile Bay Resort

Crocodile Bay resort
Crocodile Bay Resort Courtesy of Crocodile Bay Resort

The Costa Rica resort donated $5,000 to the Central American Billfish Association. Beau Williams, Crocodile Bay Resort general manager, noted Crocodile Bay Resort believes “marine conservation to be a worthy cause, especially here in Central America where the lack of a strong economy can at times limit the local government’s ability to fund its own studies and the policing of local fishing laws.”

The organization also supports local schools’ extracurricular activities — creating uniforms and paying for bus transportation — plus local traditional dance groups, schools and women’s groups. The resort donated around $10,000 to various charities in Puerto Jimenez and the Osa Peninsula, including a $3,500 joint donation with Boston Whaler to buy students at Corcovado School computers for the new Computer Lab. Crocodile Bay Resort said its 2016 donations were around $15,000.

Everglades Boats

Everglades Boats Courtesy of Everglades Boats

The Florida-based boat manufacturer partners with the Muscular Dystrophy Association — specifically Fishing For Muscular Dystrophy — and donated approximately $175,000 in cash and products in 2016. The non-profit organization, which raises awareness of muscle diseases, raises money for the cause in part through a competitive fishing team. That gained a fan in Bryan Harris, Everglades Boats vice president of sales and marketing.


“This is without a doubt the best group I have ever been involved with in my 30 years in the marine industry,” says Harris, who adds that the company will donate $200,000, including an Everglades 243cc valued at more than $100,000, in 2017 to Fishing For Muscular Dystrophy for inshore tournaments. Harris believes this could be used for a second team, adding to Fishing For Muscular Dystrophy’s exposure in the sport-fishing industry.


Evinrude Courtesy of Evinrude

The outboard motor company gave its first two $5,000 BRP/Evinrude Water Research Excellence Fellowships to two University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences students in 2016. The fellowships are awarded to students conducting research that will help protect the world’s water resources.

The brand also donated outboard engines valued at $50,000 to the college earlier this year for use on two research vessels, bringing the annual amount donated to around $60,000.


Evinrude also donates to the National Cancer Pediatric Foundation and the Herman Lucerne Memorial.

Maverick Boat Group

Maverick Boat Group
Maverick Boat Group Courtesy of Maverick Boat Group

The Florida-based boat manufacturer donated $215,000 to multiple fishing- conservation groups and local organizations in 2016. The list includes: Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, Center for Sportfishing Policy, Conservation Association of Florida, Education Foundation of Indian River County, Environmental Learning Center, Lines in the Lagoon Youth Tournament, Recreational Fishing Alliance, Treasure Coast Casters Youth Angling Club and Treasure Coast Food Bank.

Charlie Johnson, director of marketing, explains why Maverick Boat Group supports the conservation organizations:

“At Maverick Boat Group, we are first and foremost fishermen. As such, we feel it’s our responsibility to actively support fisheries conservation organizations to preserve the resource and the access to it for generations to come. Not only do these organizations do a great job of doing just that, they give the recreational angler a voice in the fisheries-management issues.”

Johnson further says, “Having been in business in the same location for over 30 years, we have strong ties to our local community. It is where we live and where our employees live. We feel it imperative to support the local community the way it supports us.”

Mercury Marine

Mercury Marine
Mercury Marine Courtesy of Mercury Marine

The business donated $80,000 in November to United Way’s Wisconsin chapters in Fond du Lac and Oshkosh, and the chapter in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Mercury Marine employees live and work in the areas supported by these chapters. Additionally, during the past three years, around 1,200 Mercury Marine employees based on Fond du Lac each participated in at least 20 hours of community service each year. Employees in Juarez, Mexico also donate time and supplies to local schools.

The organization also donates to the Fond du Lac school system’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Academy, Humane Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters and other non-profit organizations.

Pioneer Boats

Pioneer Boats
Pioneer Boats Courtesy of Pioneer Boats

Totaling 17,500 in donations this year, Pioneer gave $2,500 to Military Appreciation Day — devoted to taking an active military member fishing — and a $15,000 boat to Shriners Hospital for Children.

A representative stressed Pioneer Boats’ fondness of the military and admiration for the work at Shriners Hospital for Children.

West Marine

West Marine
West Marine Courtesy of West Marine

The fishing and boating supply retailer gave a $1,500 grant to each of 50 organizations — 25 in the spring and 25 in the fall — as part of the West Marine’s non-profit, annual BlueFuture program. Grants go to community-based organizations dedicated to getting young people on and around the water in recreational and educational capacities. The total amount donated in 2016 was $75,000.


Zebco Courtesy of Zebco

Zebco’s Tulsa-based employees donated $30,000 to the local United Way chapter through payroll deductions and quarterly events.

The company, which makes Fin-Nor, Quantum and Van-Staal tackle, also supports youth fishing organizations and gave at least $10,000 to many organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Zebco’s “Take Me Fishing Day” and more, bringing the total to $40,000.


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