Several leading U.S. trade associations and boatbuilders are pledging funds and taking action in relief efforts for the Bahamas, in the wake of last week’s destruction of the Abacos and other northern islands by Hurricane Dorian.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association is supporting Third Wave, a Miami-based organization providing relief for the Bahamas. Miami Commissioner Ken Russell’s district has a strong connection to the Bahamian community and includes Virginia Key, the home of the Miami International Boat Show.
In a statement, NMMA president Thom Dammrich wrote, “Russell feels (Third Wave’s) efforts are more visible than agencies like the American Red Cross.”
Third Wave has deployed medical personnel and supplies via boat to the Abacos and has been delivering supplies with a C130 transport plane. Supplies still being requested include tents, cleaning materials, chainsaws and cleaning equipment.
Russell has secured a warehouse in Wynwood, Fla., for collecting supplies, along with assistance at local airports.
Contender Boats, Maverick Boats and NMMA have each pledged $10,000 to relief efforts. Dammrich said that anyone interested in helping can make donations here.
In about a week, the Bahamian government will be ready to receive vessels. Third Wave is organizing a flotilla of private boats to travel to the Abacos.
In other support efforts, volunteers from the Marine Industries of South Florida and a coalition of Florida businesses, non-profit organizations and other groups have raised more than $200,000 in two days.
The funding was used to deploy the 110-foot True North, a vessel belonging to the Mission of Hope. It will be converted into a floating campus for disaster response teams, including medical and construction personnel. The ship and staff departed Turks and Caicos last Thursday evening and were expected to arrive in the Bahamas yesterday.
“Abaco and the islands surrounding it are like family to us,” Phil Purcell, CEO/president of MIASF, said in a statement. “When Commissioner Sorenson called, the marine industry responded quickly and decisively to join this relief effort.”
Added Andrew Doole, president of U.S. Boat Shows at Informa: “The people who have been displaced in the Bahamas by Hurricane Dorian are our friends, clients and customers and we are committed to the long-term recovery of this global treasure.”
The International Yacht Brokers Association and the U.S. Superyacht Association also supported the effort.
Hope 4 Hope Town core committee member Julie Berry of Marina Investments Group said: “The images and messages coming from Abaco and the Bahamas are heartbreaking and we knew that we needed to act quickly to help out neighbors and friends who remain in harm’s way in the aftermath.”