THE BIGGEST FISHING EVENT AUSTRALIA HAS EVER SEEN DEPARTING MELBOURNE BOAT SHOW 2016
1 Man, 1 boat and 16,500km of challenging ocean and 148 days of unforgettable fishing
Fish For Life is a fundraising organisation that is raising funds for the Cancer Council Australia by taking on one of the biggest boating and fishing challenges ever, Fish For Life’s skipper Mark Ratchford will depart Melbourne Boat Show on Sunday June 20th 2016 to embark on a quest to raise funds to find a cure for cancer whilst circumnavigating Australia, stopping at destinations along the way.
WE HAVE DEPARTED
Our quest is underway and currently we have completed 2,289km. Below are the paths I have taken on the journey. I hope you can follow me or even join me on this journey to help those who are depending on us to do our share in contributing to communities across Australia.
WHY DID MARK RATCHFORD TAKE ON THIS CHALLENGE ?????
Hi my name is Mark Ratchford I am the founder of FFL. My passion to undertake this event came from losing close friends to this retched disease, even as a child I witnessed the devastation instilled upon families from the loss of loved ones, this started with a neighbour and friend whose father past when he was only a young teenager, in my early adult years a friend named Tony was taken to early, he was in the prime of his life, whilst at this time the impact this disease would have on my own decisions later in life was not apparent yet.
In the late eighties through to the early nineties when Australia was suffering from recession I struggled to gain employment, being a hard worker from a young age I struggled with this, with minimal funds in the bank I borrowed $600 to purchase a truck I noticed for sale on a nature strip in Rosebud, upon inspection of the vehicle and a test drive the truck caught fire. Being this was the only truck that I could borrow enough money to purchase, I spent many hours fixing the burnt wiring. I used a roller to paint the truck to try make it presentable to a potential customer.
I was introduced to a gentleman by the name of Mal Meyer who owned Meyer timber in Dandenong, Mel was generous enough to give me the opportunity to contract for him with a truck Mal knew would be nothing but trouble but none the less I was to start immediately. Well the $600 truck was exactly that and after a couple of months the repair bills were beyond the earnings of the truck, Mal would often say to me that I should have become a mechanic because I was under the truck every day.
One Day Mel approached me and suggested that I sell the truck and work on a forklift for Mel until I could save enough money for another truck that is reliable, Mel said if I proved myself he would help me get back into a truck over time. I accepted his offer and worked on a forklift until another contractor decided to sell their truck, when this truck was offered for sale Mel approached me and offered to finance the truck for me, this was the beginning of a long term working relationship between
Meyer Timber and Mark Ratchford. Sadly, Mel past from cancer some years after he so generously helped me.
The transport business was expanding and I then established a business relationship with Phillip Wood from Britton Timber, myself and Phil had socialized outside of work with some fruitful fishing trips and a few ale’s with a story or two to pass the time between bites, sadly Phil also past away from the same retched disease, I then decided to change his business direction moving away from transport to Fishing Charters, obtaining my commercial qualifications and Dive certification to work in an environment in line with my own two passions.
As the years go by many great people close to myself have passed from cancer, My good friends sadly lost their 6yo son, this was the start of my fundraising, I ran a promotion on Scoopon and Groupon donating a portion of sales to my friends. This has saddened myself even further over the last couple of years losing a long time childhood friend Brett Summers who fought for 20 years and then my wife’s best friend Debra Whitmore losing her battle with Melanoma early last year and every year there is more great people lost.
I wanted to do more to help and after much consideration decided that a fundraiser within the boating and fishing industries which is now involved in this campaign which would give me the opportunity to involve as many companies within this industry. Wanting to make as large an impact as possible to raise maximum funds to help, I decided that the biggest event I could undertake would be to circumnavigate Australia in a small boat, organizing fund raising events at approx. 80 destinations around the Australian coast. My journey includes some of the most treacherous waters in Australia, emotional times away from family and friends, all to help others in need.
I will be navigating the seas over a 4-5 month journey to get our nation digging deep and celebrating life to raise much needed funds for the Cancer Council Australia around Australia.
The Fish for Life crew may endure 17 metre waves coming in from the southern ocean to waters that are extremely difficult to navigate across the top of Australia.
It is going to be one challenging quest!
I am a passionate sea bound man with a dedicated ground crew will travel 1,507 Kilometres across the Great Australian bite, between Esperance and Ceduna, this challenge may take up to 50hrs straight only stopping to meet the tender vessel for refuelling.
As the Skipper I will cross the notorious Bass Strait in the middle of winter enduring freezing and rough conditions, as well as navigating through the hole in the wall at Guluwuru Island Northern Territory, and not to forget the risk involved in getting through the Horizontal Falls.
It’s not all risk and danger for me, there are fund raising events, donations from generous business where I will have the pleasure to meet other passionate people who want to make a difference, I will experience our nations wonders visiting some of the most picturesque locations on earth right here in Australia.
Get On board.
People need us and we need you to get on board and join us in this epic quest so together we can help as many people as possible.
Departing from Melbourne Boat Show June 2016 we will soon be in a port near you!
Fish For Life would like to thank Lufra Apartments for their generous support when Mark arrives at Eagle Hawk Neck. We ask all our followers when visiting Tasmania don’t miss out on this pristine location and friendly Environment.
Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle show 2016
Special thanks to the Monster Fish crew for the valuable support they give FFL during these shows. FFL would also like to thank the attendees who came to our stall and showed support, it was great to chat to people who have followed our journey, Thank you from the FFL crew.
Thank you to Paul and Melinda Junginga from for the ongoing support, without you FFL would not be where it is today. From all the crew at FFL, THANK YOU.
Reliability and fuel efficiency, thank you Mercury we are proud to have you on board and we feel safe and confident with the worlds number one outboard company supporting us along the way.
Mark is proud to be a FFL ambassador, he is an integral part of the SA team, welcome aboard Mark.
Shane Mensforth SA Ambasador
Shane is the proud owner and editor of S.A Angler. Welcome aboard Shane, we appreciate your contribution to FFL to date and look forward to your continued support in the future.
FFL, A Journey With Angels
Scroll down for more information on how your past loved one can become a FFL Guardian Angel
Our Skipper, Mark Ratchford
Durability and reliability is the name of the game when it comes to winches & you can’t go past Savwinch for these qualities.
South Australia’s no 1 girls competition fishing team, no holding back with this team, thank you for your valuable contribution to FFL.
Fish For Life would like to welcome aboard Lee Rayner as a national ambassador, we are looking forward to working close with Lee in the quest to raise funds on behalf of the cancer council to help sick and needy people.
Getting on board is a valuable way to donate, you have the opportunity to help with the planning and running of the boat, you also will have the opportunity to attend the fund raising events at destinations along the way contributing to helping people in need, all this and some time for fishing.