How To Help
The eyes of the world may be on Florida and Georgia as Hurricane Dorian prepares to make landfall but hearts and minds are with the Bahamas as the devastating storm hit the islands with Category 5 strength—165-plus mph winds, as much as 30 inches of rain and a sickening storm surge created a nightmare scenario. According to the Washington Post, Elbow Cay, Marsh Harbour and Grand Bahama Island—world-class boating destinations all—took direct hits.
While many Floridians are glued to the news, hoping and praying the storm will shift away from their homes, others are already mobilizing to answer the call and provide relief to the islands.
I connected with Sales Manager for SeaHunter Boats Eddie Leon in the company’s Key Largo location. One of the first recreational builders to answer the call to help the Bahamas, he quickly opened a pop-up donation center where he’s been able to accept goods from those traveling to or from the Keys over the holiday weekend.
Where he’s able to do the most good is at the factory’s Homestead, Florida location that he says has the capacity to “accept donations, put them on pallets and get them ready to be shipped.” Leon says he’s working with professional first responders to coordinate the shipment and delivery of the goods that range from toothpaste to chain saws.
A short list of items Leon collecting is:
• Toiletry items
• Hydrogen peroxide
• Latex gloves
• Lightweight tarps
• Nonperishable food
• Water decontamination kits
• New chain saws
• Small portable generators
• Instant fruit drink mix packages i.e. Crystal Light/Propel (no liquids due to weight issues)
Location Accepting Donations:
SeaHunter Boats Factory
25545 SW 140 Ave
Homestead, FL 33032
Leon is working with organizers of the Abaco Relief Facebook page to ensure the donations he receives get to the proper authorities quickly. While he was quick to jump into a helping role, Leon says he has been encouraged by his coworkers and clients throughout Florida and driven by a personal connection to the islands.
“We have a 100 percent commitment to helping. We’ve been doing events in the Abacos for 6 years and we’ve all vacationed there. That location is close to our hearts,” says Leon. “From our ownership down it was natural for us to jump into action and help.”
One of the most common questions he’s been getting from fellow boaters is if they can help use their own boats to help Leon deliver the donations. Leon, while appreciative of the selfless spirit those boaters possess, cautions against taking a personal boat to the Bahamas saying that they could actually do more harm than good at this point.
“I’ve gotten 200 calls from boaters that want to make the trip over there but I’m cautioning people that that’s not a good idea. The private boater has more of a chance of needing aid than receiving it,” he cautioned. “There is no place to spend the night, and there’s debris everywhere. A flotilla of private boaters could cause harm until we receive word from professionals.”
Power & Motoryacht will continue to monitor this story and will offer vetted ways for the boating community to contribute to the recovery effort. With a lot of uncertainty swirling around about the current condition of the islands, it offers some comfort knowing that the generous spirit of the boating community is as strong as ever. –Daniel Harding Jr.