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VetsBoats: Our Why

By Terry Moran, Founder & Chairman


My first memories of sailing were with my parents on San Francisco Bay. My father was a ocean-going captain in the British Merchant Navy, and I learned about the sea and ships from him. Service also runs in our family; I served in the US Navy as an aviator, and my oldest son, a serving Marine, is the fifth generation of uniformed service in our family. Today, I am very fortunate combine these values and passions into a waterborne program that will be of service to Veterans and their families.


From my experiences growing up living on wooden boats and my service as a naval officer, came the inspiration to do something innovative to help veterans in need. It began with a simple yet powerful metaphor: wooden boats have a soul all their own. Further, a wooden boat is a creation; it is formed, shaped, and lovingly cared for by human hands; it requires sacrifice to maintain in healthy condition, and demands a purpose to thrive. So too - does each of us.. and when we care for a boat that has a purpose, an individual joins a community.



Veterans of uniformed service are an often overlooked demographic in our society, but there is a silent crisis affecting us, where we have lost over 30,000 since 9/11 to suicide. This must be stopped by every means possible. In answer, we bring Veterans the opportunity to experience fellowship and community, learn new skills, and experience the calming simple pleasures of sailing and being around boats. We know personally and from witnessing it in action, that boats offer the purpose and enjoyment that move people from isolation to participation to purpose. Whether or not sailing is for you, we hope you find your path to good health, a life-affirming community, and the satisfaction of selfless service. 


VetsBoats (EIN 46-4194065) a nonprofit private foundation, was founded by veterans and sailors dedicated to enriching veterans’ lives. We have served and we have a passion for restoring and sailing boats. Our long-term strategy to deliver a prolonged impact to veterans includes building community in the Bay and Delta regions through wooden boat restoration projects and sail training, ultimately leading to a capstone voyage to Hawaii.

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