VENICE, Fla. – For the 16th consecutive year, the Venice Police Department Marine Unit will hold its popular Shark’s Tooth Fishing Tournament April 12 at Marine Max Venice. The event – which kicks off the weekend’s Shark’s Tooth Festival – is held to benefit the Special Olympics and will feature 30 local boat captains taking 40 athletes out for a day of fun and fishing.
For the first time ever, Sea Tow Venice will be stepping in as the tournament’s top sponsor, joining local businesses that have helped put on the tournament for years, such as Bill Buck Chevrolet, Freedom Boat Club, Royal Air Conditioning, Gemini Apparel, and the Venice Sail and Power Squadron.
Master Police Officer (MPO) Paul Joyce of the Venice Police Marine Unit – who has organized the event since 2009 – said the tournament is special for all those involved.
“It’s not about what they catch or how much they catch,” he said, “it’s about the athletes getting out there and being able to do something they’re not normally able to do.”
The tournament – first held in 2002 – originally consisted of four local captains and ten Special Olympic athletes. Since then, it has exploded in popularity, with more than 160 people expected to attend in 2018. MPO Joyce said each year he has volunteers – such as local on-water service provider, Sea Tow – lining up for next year’s tournament as soon as the previous event finishes.
After volunteering with the tournament for the first time last year, Sea Tow Venice’s general manager, Captain Craig Marcum, said he was eager to get more involved in an event that he said is so rewarding for everyone involved.
“As soon as last year’s festival concluded, I went to MPO Joyce and said, ‘We absolutely love doing this – how can we get more involved?” Captain Marcum said. “He told me the tournament’s title sponsor – Captain Eddy’s Fishing Charters – was retiring. Without even hesitating, I told him that we wanted to step in to take over. We’re really proud to be involved with it.”
In addition to supporting the tournament financially, Captain Marcum and his crew will be out on the water all day, supplying free tows to participants if they are needed, and helping to serve lunch and hand out prizes. Sea Tow Venice will also be raffling off a free one-year Sea Tow membership – the proceeds of which will help fund next year’s tournament. Captain Marcum said he and his team just wants to help in any way they can.
“Sea Tow’s mission is to help people enjoy boating, so when we see an event like this that helps people do that – especially those who aren’t privileged enough to do it when they want to – it’s a great chance for us to get out there and help,” he added. “It’s near and dear to our hearts in many ways. It’s all seemed almost like a piece of the puzzle that worked out really well for us to be involved.”