In the wake of the category 4 Hurricane Michael, the marine industry is banding together to support those affected by the deadly storm.
Cities along the Florida Panhandle were among those hit the hardest as the storm made landfall in early October. From heavy rain and high winds to the following storm surges, Michael caused mass destruction to the area.
Most recently, OneWater Marine has partnered with the National Christian Federation and Destiny Worship Center to create a relief fund, with 100 percent of the collected funds going directly to those affected by the storm.
OneWater Marine owns and operates eight different locations in the Florida Panhandle region.
“Fortunately, in large part due to our team’s preparation efforts, along with some good luck, our dealerships only suffered moderate damage” OneWater Marine CEO Austin Singleton said in a news release. “Unfortunately, many of our team members and customers were more severely affected.
The relief effort offers help to the Panhandle community via financial donations, as well as relief supply donations, with OneWater’s eight Panhandle locations serving as donation stations.
“While Hurricane Michael has been a tragic and life-altering event for so many, we believe that our joint response can galvanize the community and offer hope for a better future in the region,” Singleton said.
Information on both means of relief can be found online.
Similarly jet boat product manufacturer and longtime SeaDek Certified Fabricator JetBoatPilot, also sustained minimal damage to its Panama City, Fla. location. However, homes of some of the manufacturer’s employees suffered major damage.
Despite minor damage to the JetBoatPilot facility, the company remains offline until they are able to clean up and begin the long process of resuming business. During this time, JetBoatPilot president and owner Will Owen is continuing to keep his employees on payroll, however, as a small business it is unsure how long he will be able to sustain it.
Most recently, Owen was informed that in order to resume business, the JetBoatPilot facility must be inspected by an official building inspector, for which there is currently no timeline.
A longtime customer and jet boater, Neil Thomas, with the support of SeaDek, has launched a gofundme campaign, with the donations going directly to the JetBoatPilot employees affected by the storm.
“Will was among the first companies that we worked with prior to the development of our Certified Fabricator and Certified Installer program.We began working with him in 2011 and he stuck with us through the trial and development phases and has become one of our top performing CFs,” said SeaDek VP of marketing and advertising Jason Gardner. “More than that, Will is just a great guy. He is a genuinely caring person who always has a positive attitude and a can do spirit. He has been there for us in the past and we will be there for him during this very trying time.”
The campaign has already raised $13,042 with the help of 97 contributors in nine days.