19 Sep R.I. Marine Companies Step Up to Help Islands Recover
Several Rhode Island marine companies have quickly stepped up to help rebuild the island communities in the Caribbean that were devastated by Hurricane Irma.
Bristol Marine, Newport Shipyard and J. Goodison Company are working together to gather supplies and equipment for Antigua and Barbuda. Cay Electronics — with offices both in Rhode Island and on Tortola — has started a relief fund to send power-generating equipment to survivors in the British Virgin Islands.
As this newsletter goes to press, we do not yet know the extent of additional damage Hurricane Maria caused; so by the time you read this, the rebuilding effort on these islands may be even more critical. Here are details on the efforts from the Rhode Island marine trades we know of thus far.
Bristol Marine, Newport Shipyard, J. Goodison Company: According to Andy Tyska, president of Bristol Marine, these three companies are working with their boating contacts and local governments to collect a cache of items most needed in Antigua and Barbuda. The items fall into two major categories: things that can be used by individuals as they weather day-to-day life on these damaged islands, including items such as first-aid kits, tarps, disposable wipes, etc. The second category is equipment and supplies needed to rebuild the island’s structures and infrastructure.
The coordinator of the effort is Sally Belmont (email@example.com / 401-965-3793). Click here for a list of the types of items that are being collected. You can also make a monetary donation so the companies can purchase what is most needed before the containers ship south.
We recommend checking in with Sally Belmont about making a donation or learning which items on the list are most needed as supplies flow in. The plan is to ship a 1-2 containers at the end of October, so please make your donations by the middle of October.
If you have industry contacts, family or friends on Antigua or Barbuda, put Wednesday, September 27, at 4:00 pm, at Belle’s Cafe at Newport Shipyard on your calendar. Organizers are meeting with individuals with connections on these two islands to help spread the word and aid in planning the distribution effort of goods and equipment to hurricane victims. Click here for more information.
Cay Electronics: The mission of the Cay Electronics effort is to raise funds to purchase and distribute solar-charged lighting and power packs to help the neediest residents until electricity has been fully restored.
It may take months to have power completely restored in the British Virgins; once the immediate needs of water, food and security are met, it will be a long-term challenge to survive and rebuild homes and businesses without electrical power.
These power packs will help islanders in the interim do everything from running power tools to rebuild homes to pumping cistern water for cooking and washing, refrigerating food, and powering cell phones and computers so islanders can stay in touch.
Follow this link to get to the You Caring site the company has set up.
There are many good ways to help these island communities, which have been welcoming boaters from around the world for decades. We applaud these Rhode Island companies for stepping up and creating specific plans to aid the rebuilding effort.