Pledges of support have been pouring in from around the world and South Florida’s boating community for the devastated islands of the Abacos and Grand Bahama in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. The storm slammed into the area with 185-mph winds and stayed put for more than 24 hours, dumping torrents of rain.
Mia Lange, executive director of global communications for the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, told Trade Only today yesterday that members of the recreational boating industry and individuals can find the organizations that the ministry is working with at Bahamas.com.relief. The primary groups are the Bahamas Red Cross and the National Association of the Bahamas. “We have a lot of damage to our infrastructure in Abaco and Freeport,” she said. “We have several dropoff points in south Florida.” A list of dropoff points is available at the website.
Bob Denison of Denison Yachts organized a gofundme page for relief efforts and it’s one of many being established. Mordy Miltz of United Yacht Sales sent out links to donate to relief for Green Turtle Cay and Marsh Islands. He also put up a link to a video explaining how people can help. Atlantic Yacht and Shipyard is also raising money for Bahamas recovery, but has also set up collection points for tools and other needed equipment for recovery efforts.
The Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs also sent out a list of supplies that the area is desperately in need of.
While commercial and private vessel owners and operators have said they want to try to bring supplies to the most devastated areas as soon as possible, on its Facebook page, the association of Bahamas marinas made an announcement yesterday urging people not to try to come to the islands yet.
It read: “Under no circumstances should any private vessel try and reach the islands at this time. The current US and Bahamian government efforts are to get people OUT of the impacted areas of the Abacos and Grand Bahama. There is tons of debris floating in and under the water, there is nowhere to tie up, there are no warehousing facilities for goods delivered, roads on the islands are NOT passable and communications with the islands are still at a bare minimum.”
The U.S. Coast Guard has not released an official statement on trying to boat into the damaged areas, but is urging precaution and taking extra safety measures for vessels. “If people to take to the sea to provide help, we want to push out that people should be as safe as possible and heed safety warnings and have all the equipment they need,” petty officer Brandon Murray of the Coast Guard Public Affairs office for district 7 in Miami told Trade Only Today Yesterday. He stressed filing float plans and telling people on your home ports when you are leaving.
Local boaters in the West Palm Beach area are reporting that the Coast Guard has told owners of small craft trying to go to the Bahamas with supplies to turn back, citing navigational hazards.
A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Clearwater, Fla., was flying in the Bahamas, assisting with search and rescue efforts working with the National Emergency Management Association and Royal Bahamian Defense force.
Because Dorian stayed in one place over the Abacos and Grand Bahama islands for so long, it wasn’t just the strong winds that did damage. The storm surge and rain combined to produce waves that reached the second story of buildings and forced some people to cut their way out of their attics. The death toll from the storm has been estimated at 5 people with approximately 13,000 homes destroyed.
As of this morning at 8 a.m., the National Hurricane Center downgraded Dorian to a Category 2 storm. Most of the southern and central sections of Florida’s East Coast have been spared and the storm as 95 miles East-Northeast of Daytona Beach, Fla., and 135 miles ESE of Jacksonville. Maximum sustained winds are 105 mph and present movement is NNW/330 degrees at 8 mph.
The Carolinas, which were hit hard by floodwaters from Hurricane Florence just about a year ago. Many marinas and boatyards are still recovering from that damage.
The following warnings and watches are in effect:
- Storm surge warning is in effect for Sebastian Inlet, Fla., to Surf City, N.C.
- Storm surge watch is in effect for North of Surf City, N.C., to Poquoson, Va., including Hampton Roads.
- Storm surge watch is in effect for Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds in North Carolina
- Storm surge watch is in effect for Neuse and Pamlico Rivers in North Carolina
- Hurricane warning is in effect for Volusia/Brevard County, Fla., line to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
- Hurricane warning is in effect for North of Savannah River to Surf City, N.C.
- Hurricane watch is in effect for North of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., to Savanna River
- Hurricane watch is in effect for North of Surf City, N.C., to the North Carolina/Virginia Border
- Hurricane watch is in effect for Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.
- Tropical storm warning is in effect for Sebastian Inlet, Fla., to the Volusia/Brevard County, Fla., line
- Tropical storm warning in effect for North of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., to Savannah River
- Tropical storm watch is in effect for the North Carolina/Virginia border to Chincoteague, Va.
- Tropical storm watch is in effect for Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point southward.