The Dare County Boat Builders Foundation’s mission is to develop, encourage and promote public awareness of the historical and cultural heritage of boat building in Dare County and to support educational opportunities for students.
It all started back in 2003 when the community learned that a good friend and colleague on the Outer Banks faced a very serious illness. Taylor Harrison, a talented and respected boatbuilder, was losing his battle with cancer and members of the Dare County sportfishing family were devastated.
Soon after Harrison’s death, friends John Bayliss and Mike Merritt discussed how they could help Harrison’s two teenage children, Mallory and Alex, with their educational expenses. Merritt suggested starting a scholarship fund that was funded by an offshore fishing tournament featuring boats built in Dare County.
Thanks to these efforts, the short-term goal of raising money to cover Mallory and Alex Harrison’s educational expenses had been achieved, and both children have successfully furthered their education.
After several successful tournaments, it was apparent that the efforts of our annual fundraiser needed to expand. In 2007, the Dare County Boat Builders Foundation formed in the spirit of helping families like the Taylors and beyond.
Today, the foundation is a stand alone 501-C3 non-profit association, supported by local and national businesses and individuals who believe that everyone should have the chance to further their education beyond high school. Each year, the foundation will award financial aide and assistance to those who apply and qualify.
We are thankful to Pirates Cove Big Game Tournaments and Marina and their willingness to host our annual tournament. Without the help and support of our loyal sponsors, the Carolina Boat Builders Tournament would simply not be possible.
The Board wants to position the Foundation to provide broad educational support for Dare County students and their families. Our fishing tournament is just one vehicle to achieve this goal.
— John Bayliss, Board Member