During the school year, he is known as Mr. Trip. He teaches band in Rochester but in the summer, people call him “Captain Dave.”
Dave Tripiciano can’t wait for the season to change, so he can be out on the water. He’s the founder of “Captain Dave’s Cruise Line for Special Kids,” a non-profit organization offering free boat rides in Western New York
Dave explains, ” We take out handicapped and special needs children, crippled children. This past summer we took a girl with no legs. Sometimes it’s hard for me not to tear up .”
Nearly 400 kids have hopped on board over the past seven summers. “Sometimes I think I’m just an old bumbler, I shouldn’t be doing this anymore. Then you look at the kids… but this little kid… something I said…. ran up and gave me a hug today! I mean something to this child,” explains Dave.
Captain Dave says he lets his passengers choose their own adventure. He asks them, “Do you want to go fishing? Would it mean more for you to go out and catch a big fish? Would you just like to cruise around on the lake and steer the boat? They are the VIP of the day. Queen for the day or king for the day!”
Dave has three boats at different locations and says it’s not always easy funding the rides but it’s worth it. “We scrape for money to keep this thing alive and a lot of it comes out of my own pocket. The money doesn’t matter as long as long as we keep those boats out there and the kids can come and they have fun.”
Dave says helping hundreds of kids create memories of a lifetime, makes him feel like a millionaire.
If you would like to learn more about the cruises or nominate someone for a ride, head to www.captaindavecruises.org.