Boat yards and builders are donating truckloads of N95-designated dust masks for health care workers that face critical shortages as they treat people infected with COVID-19, and are asking others to donate any they may have on hand to those who need them.
In what state officials are referring to as an “absolute godsend,” Pasadena Boat Works, a service shop and dealer of Carolina Skiffs and other new and used powerboats, donated about 14,000 N95 respirator masks to the Maryland State Health Department, according to the (Annapolis) Capital Gazette.
Weaver Boatworks, a Maryland custom fishing boat builder, donated its personal supply — 7,000 N95 respirator masks — worn by shop employees, according to Chesapeake Bay Magazine.
The Massachusetts Marine Trade Association issued a call to members for personal protection equipment after MMTA executive director Randall Lyons reached out to the Massachusetts COVID19 Response Command Center.
“They were extremely responsive, indicating to me the large need,” Lyons told Trade Only Today.
A list of current needs for hospitals and first responders in Massachusetts, which Randall included in the letter to members, can be found here.
Aaron Porter, editor of Maine-based Professional BoatBuilder magazine, issued a plea for readers to donate spare, “or even not-so-spare,” N95-designated dust masks this morning.
“I passed my last 10-mask sleeve off to a favorite medical practitioner last weekend,” wrote Porter. “Her gratitude and fear were palpable. Her clinic had one ‘N95’ her size in stock, and the inevitable wave of coronavirus patients in our city had not even started yet.”
The promised supplies of masks and test kits have still not arrived in hospitals, so essential staff are reusing masks and providing care without protection, Porter wrote.
A lot of the equipment boat builders use is the same worn by hospitals, according to one doctor. Specially, they need Tyvek Suits, face masks and goggles.
“Admirably and frighteningly, they will be standing in the breach for the next weeks or months with or without adequate protection equipment,” said Porter. “I know we have some of what they need on our shop shelves and supply rooms, and while the sanding dust, stray microballoons, and laminate filaments are threats to our good health, they pale in comparison to the disaster of widespread infection and crippling of the medical profession precisely when we need all hands on deck.”
Boatbuilders and boat yards won’t have all the reserves needed to meet demand, but it can rally to buy valuable time and keep people protected until production can be stepped up, he said.
“If there’s an industry that recognizes a Dunkirk moment when we see one, it is boatbuilding,” he said. “The fact is, there’s no real and immediate relief from any level of government, so please give what masks you can to the closest medical facility or your favorite clinician.”
You can read the whole letter here.