The Friends of Rollo is a non-profit educational organization named after Captain James "Rollo" Heyn of the long-range sportfishing boat Royal Polaris and dedicated to sending kids on marine-awareness fishing trips.
Rollo was famous for his fishing skills and his life-long passion for the sport. As a youngster, Rollo worked in a tackle shop after school and on weekends, and then as a charter boat cook and deckhand during his teen years. He spent 18 years as a crewmember aboard the Royal Polaris where his reputation as a skilled angler and patient teacher grew. Rollo's extensive knowledge of and tremendous sense of enthusiasm for the fishing industry earned him a special place in the hearts of those who knew him. It is in Rollo's memory that the Friends of Rollo seeks to introduce children to the wonderful world of fishing that Rollo so loved.
To date, we have taken over 85,000 kids fishing and have grand plans to take many, many more! Though we concentrate on disadvantaged, at-risk, disabled, and low-income children, we work with kids from all walks of life and welcome the opportunity to expose as many children as possible to fishing.
Our mission is simple: we want to introduce fishing to children who might not otherwise have such an opportunity in hopes that fishing becomes something that changes their lives. We'd like them to experience a day of beauty and nature while out on the water and have the chance to see something they might otherwise never witness. Dolphins swimming in the bow's wake, whales surfacing for air, sea lions playing around the boat- these are a few of the pleasures a day at sea can provide and are experiences that truly broaden a child's horizons.
Our operation is simple: we send 30 to 45 kids, with 4 or 6 chaperones, on 1/2 to 3/4 day marine awareness fishing trips. Rods, reels, hooks, and sinkers are provided and as well as expert instruction from the captain and crew.. Kids also learn about marine conservation as they cruise along on a Coast Guard-approved vessel.
Like Rollo, the majority of the people fishing today started before the age of 16. Friends of Rollo is dedicated to preserving Rollo's memory by instilling a love of fishing and a respect for the ocean in future generations of fisherman.