The MarineMax Vacations team in the British Virgin Islands is busy preparing the fleet and restoring base operations after Hurricane Irma to resume charter deliveries during the last week in November.
Additionally, progress throughout the islands is strong because of the resilience, hard work and determination of residents and business owners, MarineMax said. The goal is to be operational for the winter season and to welcome tourists back to each of the islands.
“We are extremely proud of the preparatory work that was executed, and we feel those efforts contributed significantly to our fleet faring well during the Category 5 hurricane. While we did sustain losses, the majority of our fleet will be operational as we enter the winter season and 2018,” MarineMax regional president Dave Biggie said in a statement.
MarineMax Vacations’ hurricane preparations began in early August, well before the start of hurricane season and as the charter season was slowing. As Irma was forecast to become a major threat to the islands, the MarineMax Vacations BVI team was able to make final preparations at the base in anticipation of a direct hit.
As the storm moved away from the islands, communication was severely hampered. It took four days for the MarineMax Vacations director of operations to learn that everyone was safe, although many had lost their homes and all of their possessions.
“Their dedication to the MarineMax fleet is extraordinary, as they quickly returned to work when safe to do so and began fleet assessments,” MarineMax Vacations charters vice president Raul Bermudez said. “Early assessments are very encouraging, and our plan is to be operating by December.”
MarineMax Vacations U.S. team members assembled care packages for team members in the BVI. They included clothing, toiletries, hygiene items and food. Getting relief to the islands continues to be a challenge. The relief kits, along with four generators, are awaiting delivery.
In the first days after the storm, MarineMax Vacations discovered that a large number of boats had little to no damage and were able to fill the need for temporary housing for team members. In the weeks that followed, a MarineMax 484 remains at the Hodges Creek base as a source of water and electricity for team members.
Serving the community, a MarineMax 484 became the base for a medical supply team that delivered professional services and supplies to local clinics.
In aid to their BVI partners, MarineMax power catamarans are in use at many local destinations for temporary housing of recovery teams, including Nanny Cay, Scrub Island and the Bitter End Yacht Club.