The Friends of Dolphin, a Charitable Trust, was formed by the Rotarians with directors representing Rotary, D.A.D., Scouts with special needs, Soroptomists, Rotaract, Lions and Round Table, and the boat with funds were transferred to it on 21st August 1982. Everyone associated with Dolphin is a volunteer, and all monies and donations go directly to the running of Dolphin. In 1990, ‘Dolphin II’ was purchased, and remained in service up to 2002. Our 10,000th passenger was carried in 1993, and in August 2001 our 20,000th was welcomed on board, both milestones being marked with a presentation by the Mayor of Poole of the time. On 18th July 2007, the Mayor of Poole made a presentation to our 30,000th disabled passenger aboard Dolphin III at the Haven Marina, Poole.
There was a lack of suitable facilities for disabled persons on normal pleasure craft in Poole Harbour and both Dolphins I & II were ideally suited for embarking disabled passengers with their bow ramps, initially from the slipway at Baiter Park, and then for many years thanks to the kindness and co-operation of the Royal Marines from their base at Hamworthy.
Thanks both to the local Fisherman Association of Poole and the Poole Harbour Commissioners a berth in the new Fisherman’s Haven was made available to us. This provided us with a great opportunity to make significant improvements in the comfort and safety of our passengers, together with the facility of being able to board direct from the pontoon at the Marina. The Directors decided on a boat designed and built by Cheetah Marine, and an appeal was launched in January 2002. Our appeal target was reached and our new ‘Dolphin III’, a new boat for a new era, went in to service in August 2002. In 2003, her first full season of operations, she was a great success, and continues to be so. We now have a new Dolphin III, with much improved facilities, continuing to give trips to disabled individuals and groups.
In 2017, we were proud to have been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which is known as the MBE for Charities. Our Charity’s Chairman Ray Kipling said “We are absolutely thrilled to have been recognised in this way. It is a reflection of many years hard work by hundreds of our volunteers who have brought happiness to our disabled passengers.”