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HURRICANE HARVEY: Lowe Boats provided fishing boats for storm rescues

Fully rigged Lowe boats were delivered to a dealership    photo

Fully rigged Lowe boats were delivered to a dealership just beyond the area where flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey was closing roads in the Houston area. The boats were quickly put into the hands of rescue workers.

Lowe Boats sent three truckloads of 16- to- 20-foot Roughneck aluminum fishing boats to Houston during catastrophic flooding that occurred when Hurricane Harvey dumped feet of rain on southeast Texas.

Though many had trouble getting supplies directly to the affected areas, Lowe dealer Capt. Kirk’s Marine in Spring, Texas, was on the last open exit of the highway before the floods forced closings, said Lowe Boats president Ben Cast. Owners Glenn Kirk and his son, Troy, were able to get the boats directly to rescue workers.

“The dealership was just outside of the area of massive flooding, so they were still able to receive product over the last few days,” Cast told Trade Only Today on Sept. 1. He had already relinquished and given up all the boats he had on the ground.”

Lowe arranged the truckloads of boats “to provide additional product to get to government officials down there — a total of a dozen boats,” Cast said.

“Everyone was needing boats, and the moments those truckloads arrived, the officials there were helping unload them and driving away instantly,” he said. “It was the boat, motor and trailer package, and we put props and batteries on these things, thinking they weren’t going to have time to do the rigging. Literally all they had to do is put gas in them and drive away.”

“He was just in the right spot for us to be able to get them down there,” Cast said. “We made sure before we started to send truckloads down that we could get them to him. Fortunately he was right outside the zone, so he was able to get them to [rescue workers].”

Cast said he heard from employees throughout parent company Brunswick Corp.

Guy Davenport sent an email explaining that friends in his former Houston subdivision had no path out other than by boat.

“As someone who knows so many people in need in Houston, Texas, my heart swells to know that the kind, hardworking folks in Lebanon, Mo., have sent those Roughnecks down south,” Davenport wrote.

Cast also received emails from customers who had performed rescues and were impressed by how the boats handled in the water, which was filled with debris such as road signs, cars and garbage.

Steven Ramirez said he had saved more than 100 people from the floods.

“I was one of the very few people out there who had a boat that was strong enough and up for the task of driving into the really difficult areas needed to reach people,” Ramirez said. “Houston-area firefighters took notice and asked to use my boat because it was able to push through the raging currents caused by freeway overpasses and then bust through thick treetops to pull people from roofs, and do it all over again for several days non-stop in the pouring rain.”

“My Roughneck jumped over trees, roofs of cars, logs, pushed through fence, and just an unbelievable amount of debris,” Ramirez said. “What's really remarkable is the only damage it sustained from this punishment was a mangled prop that looks like it's been to hell and back, at least what's left of it, that is.”

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