Veteran’s Find Support at Sea

Soldier On’s Deep Sea Fishing Activity returned to Port Stephens last week for its 6th year.

The two-day Marlin fishing adventure paid thanks to our serving and ex-serving veterans and worked to strengthen social connections and mental health for veterans and their families.

The event has seen considerable growth and success since its inception. In its first year, the event attracted 11 participants across three vessels. This year’s event saw 70 participants hosted across 25 boats with the help of 40 captains and crew donating their time and resources on the day.

Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich, said the annual trip is instrumental in supporting the wellbeing of veterans and their families.

“The annual fishing trip is very much about supporting the health and wellbeing of veterans and their families as well as encouraging them to form and maintain meaningful social connections,” Mr Slavich said.

The Port Stephens community has displayed a remarkable amount of support, with generous donations of time and resources from a number of partners and local businesses.

Calypso Fishing Adventures Captain, Tim Dean, has been instrumental in the continued success of the Deep Sea Fishing activity.

“The event could not have happened the assistance of Tim Dean. He has been a fantastic supporter of Soldier On, organising this event, recruiting vessels and skippers, and bringing everything together on the day to give our participants a fantastic day on the water,” Mr Slavich said.   

“We are able to do what we do because of the sacrifices that our service men and women have made. It is a real privilege for us to be able to take them out on the water and show them what we do,” Calypso Captain, Tim Dean said.

“At its core, fishing is a team sport, and that really resonates with the veteran community. Win, lose or draw, you do it together,” Tim added.

With proven links established between positive social connections and enhanced mental health,

activities like this are a key component of Soldier On’s veteran support services.

Soldier On participant, Eraine McArthur, attended the event after retiring from the Army earlier this year following 30 years of service.

“For me, these activities keep me connected. Through these events, I am able to stay connected with the Defence community and be supported and encouraged by people in the same circumstances as me,” Eraine said.

“Being in Defence, it is like being a part of a family. When you leave Defence, Soldier On helps you stay connected to that family. For me that is really important in my transition,” Eraine added.