By Lucy Chabot Reed
California-based Westrec Marinas, managers of marinas across the United States, celebrated its 30th anniversary at the show yesterday.
Westrec manages about 6,000 slips in the municipal system of Chicago as well as eight marinas in South Florida, including Hall of Fame Marina, Sunrise Harbor Marina and Harbortowne Marina, as well as the dry stack storage facility Haulover Marine Center. The company opened that 500-slip facility in March, expecting to take about four years to fill. Yesterday, Gary Groenewold, vice president of the southern area for the company, said it is already over 400 slips filled.
Westrec has given back to the industry, sponsoring the International Superyacht Society’s annual Distinguished Crew Award for the past 15 years. (For this year’s winner, see story on front page.) It also offer part of its press conference to support the newly formed Superyacht Aid Coalition, a partnership of some 80 yachting businesses to support and fund relief for the Caribbean.
“This is not a one-month operation,” said Norma Trease of ISS and organizer of the coalition. “This process of rebuilding will take a year or longer.”
Superyacht Aid Coalition has partnered with YachtAid Global to handle the logistics of collecting, delivering and distributing the aid. In the past week, YAG has overseen the departure of a target barge with six containers of aid for Puerto Rico and 250 tons of aid for Dominica, said Capt. Tim Forderer, who is volunteering to manage the coalition’s efforts with YAG.
“We’re all in this boat together, and we’re only going to go as far as our navigators can take us, as our engine room can fuel us with funds,” Capt. Forderer said. “Together, we’re better.”
John Collin McIntrye, acting prime minister of Dominica, was there to tell the crowd first-hand of his island’s status after Hurricane Maria.
“Dominica is known as the Green Island and tranquil, but it’s now totally deforested,” he said. “The parrots are on the ground, starving for food. Eighty-90 percent of houses have roof damage. I feel like I came from a battlefield when I flew here. There are no lights, no air conditioning, no wi-fi, no water, no shelter. You live in paradise here, that’s no exaggeration.”
He noted that about 25 islands were hit by one of the two Category 5 storms that blew through in September, several of them devastated by the storms.
“We are very thankful for what you have done for the Caribbean,” he said.
Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher of Triton Today. Comments are welcome below.