Water Heals

Sharing it is Even Better!

Organizing Efforts, Creating Change, Making an Impact

How It Feels

Picture a child with cancer smiling for the first time since diagnosis or a veteran with PTSD relaxing and enjoying the camaraderie of fellow veterans and loving civilians. They leave their worries on the dock as they head out on local waters for a few hours of relaxation and sunshine.

That’s what happens during our free marine-related programs. People are transported away from their challenges and cares. They smile. They laugh. They make lifelong memories and new friendships, building a greater sense of community.

You Make A Difference

Our therapeutic experiences are transformative for people facing life’s toughest challenges. They often come away with a renewed zest for living, sense of self-worth, accomplishment and independence.

This effect impacts everyone involved, including the loved ones of participants.

Freedom Waters Foundation’s programs impact everyone involved, including the participants loved ones and volunteers.

2023 Statistics

People Served: 4,500

Children Served


Veterans Served


Adults Served


Volunteers, Captains and Crew


Water Experiences


Volunteered Vessels


View the FWF 2023 Impact Report

Our History

Freedom Waters Foundation was founded in March 2006 by our current Executive Director, Debra Frenkel, a licensed clinical social worker, and yacht broker John Weller, who both still serve on our Board of Directors. Debby has been involved with disabled sailing since 1999 and knew John through her previous employer. John is a six-time cancer survivor and fellow humanitarian who encouraged Debby to form her own non-profit organization. What’s in a Name When selecting a name for the venture, Debby consulted a good friend who has paraplegia and is a top-notch sailor. She asked him what called him to the water. He said, “the freedom.” Thus, the name Freedom Waters Foundation -- which also incorporates an F for Frenkel and W for Weller. Who We Serve Originally focused on serving children with cancer, Freedom Waters Foundation has expanded to meet the needs of children and adults with life threatening illnesses and disabilities, at-risk youth as well as veterans.

We operate in Collier, Lee, Palm Beach and Broward counties of Florida.