Exactly one month ago, Irma made landfall on Barbuda as a Category 5 hurricane. Adding insult to injury, Maria came through the Caribbean, also as a Category 5, on September 19. Barbuda, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Turks and Caicos, and both the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, among others, are struggling to rebuild. As much as several superyacht charities are mobilizing assistance, many people realize there’s strength in numbers. Therefore, more superyacht charities now exist, and are now lending aid. In addition, more industry groups are backing long-established superyacht charities and other non-profits.
These three organizations are among the ones receiving the largest support from owners, crew, and the industry.
1. K1 Britannia Foundation.If you attended last week’s Monaco Yacht Show, you may have seen and heard young ladies singing at the Superyacht UK stand:
— Superyacht UK (@SuperyachtUK) September 29, 2017
They performed on behalf of K1 Britannia Foundation, which has been in St. Maarten since 2014. The foundation primarily focuses on at-risk youth, but also assists with maritime issues. Post-Irma, K1 delivered food and water to homes, hospitals, and more. The government appointed it to coordinate its own food and water deliveries from the port, with the Dutch Marines. It also managed half of the eight government-established emergency shelters.
In a statement, K1 Britannia Foundation says, “We have a vision to help the island and work together with the local marine industry to get St. Maarten back on its feet and bring back tourism to the island.” It’s collaborating with the St. Maarten Marine Trades Association to raise money and awareness. Valeska Luckert, the association secretary and owner of Palapa Marina, says, “We need the boats to return in order for us to recover.” She adds:
“Places like FKG, Budget Marine, Island Water World, among others, are already operational. The Marine Trades Association’s members are working hard to clean and rebuild as quickly as possible to be up and running for this upcoming yachting season. The island will not be back in full service, as that will take some time. But we are confident that we will soon have an even stronger St. Maarten. St Barths also announced that they will be open for this season, so we are hoping that the yachting industry, who has always given their support to us, would continue to do so by visiting our lovely island during this difficult period of recovery.”
2. NYC Eastern Caribbean Relief Fund. Eight of IGY Marinas’ facilities were impacted by the hurricanes. Despite that, some served as temporary shelters and makeshift hospitals, plus staging areas for government assistance. The rebuilding effort is ongoing, but, the company says, there’s an “acute need to provide support to these communities quickly—very quickly.” Therefore, IGY Marinas and its parent company, Island Capital Group, established the NYC Eastern Caribbean Relief Fund. The goal is to raise $5 million. “It will take millions simply to get the good people of these communities back on their feet with the very basics of human needs,” IGY Marinas states. “Government resources will in many cases take too long to serve their purpose.”
3. SuperYacht Aid Coalition. Numerous yachting companies, trade organizations, and owners and crew are banding together under the newest superyacht charities umbrella, SuperYacht Aid Coalition (SAC). In fact, SAC started at the just-concluded Monaco Yacht Show. The aim is to unite the range of volunteers who buy and/or deliver aid to coastal communities after disasters. The trade groups include the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association, International Yacht Brokers Association, and International Superyacht Society. Companies include BWA Yachting, ACREW, National Marine, and Riviera Yacht Support.
SAC has selected YachtAid Global (YAG) to organize and deploy aid, given its long experience. SAC and YAG are each publicizing the need for supplies and funds, as well as yachts to deliver aid. “The contributions and assistance coming from the yachting industry in response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria are unprecedented,” explains Mark Drewelow, YAG’s founder. “By managing SuperYacht Aid Coalition under YAG’s proven logistical dexterity, we are able to harness these efforts. We believe the response of our owners and industry is capable of being as unprecedented as the events themselves.”