Captain Dan Peretz of Dolphin Landings Charter Boat Center founded S.O.S. in 2012, following the passing of a fellow sailor and dear friend of 40 years, Art Nicholson. In the weeks before Art’s passing, Dan suggested to Art’s wife that they try to get Art and his family on a sailboat, providing everyone a chance to experience joy and respite in their last weeks together. Those Sunday morning sails provided Art with so much happiness and gave everyone cherished memories of his last days. Spending time together on the coastal waters, watching dolphins frolic and sea birds fly, was precious and therapeutic, benefitting the emotional wellbeing of everyone. It was from those wonderful experiences, and in honor of Dan’s friend, that S.O.S. was created.
S.O.S. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) volunteer organization providing complimentary sailing excursions on the first Sunday each month for seriously health-challenged people and their support group. S.O.S. is committed to offering a respite from troubling health concerns, celebrating life, and helping people to navigate their journey to wellbeing.
Word has spread about S.O.S., and the trips have gotten better known. There are times when we use two or three boats to accommodate our guests. We have been fortunate to have the support of people who want to contribute to S.O.S. We eventually created brochures, a logo, web page, Facebook page, and t-shirts for guests and volunteers. We regularly have a certified nutritionist on board, to discuss healthy diet choices, and a yoga instructor who offers a mini yoga experience while we’re sailing.
In September 2016 Terry Porter, a longtime friend of Dan’s and now an S.O.S. board member, discovered the Boca Ciega Sail and Power Squadron Building was for sale. The building was built in 1930 and served as the Treasure Island Fire House for many years before it became the Boca Ciega Sail and Power Squadron. Terry and Dan saw the incredible potential and opportunity the property provided for S.O.S. Plans are underway to remodel the building to accommodate events, such as birthdays, anniversaries, family gatherings, and fundraisers for S.O.S., as well as a dock for S.O.S sailboats. In acquiring this property, Dan felt a strong sense of community in preserving this Treasure Island landmark.
Dan looks forward to many years of soothing souls with S.O.S. and his great team of volunteers.