Pilar, Hemingway's boat, is considered by some to be his one true love. The boat was named after a nickname of his wife Pauline and one of his characters in For Whom the Bell Tolls. In 1934, he acquired Pilar from Wheeler Shipyard Inc. in New York for $7,500.
Though Pilar was built for fishing, Hemingway made the vessel very dynamic. Hemingway invited members of the Smithsonian Institute to conduct scientific research in order to discover whether or not different colored Marlins are of the same species, which led to the reclassification of the fish. World War II led to Pilar being equipped with submarine detection equipment in order to identify German U-Boats lurking in Caribbean waters. In addition to this equipment, the government allowed him extra rations, paid for his gas, and even gave him a Thompson submachine gun and hand grenades for defense. Some said Hemingway was not interested in hunting U-Boats, but rather wanted to have free gas and an excuse to drive the boat under the influence of alcohol. His trips to Bimini allowed him to perfect fishing techniques including tiring tuna by attaching them to a skiff and then boating them and fending off sharks by shooting at them with his submachine guns.
After Hemingway's death, the boat was left to his hired captain and later given to the Cuban government. U.S. citizens wishing to see the actual ship can obtain special permission from the government to go see the boat in dry dock.