GBC Reaches Out to the Florida Keys by Boat

Packing up disaster relief supplies to take down to Florida Keys residents.
Packing up disaster relief supplies to deliver to Florida Keys residents.

Donations made it to the Florida Keys by boat.

Thanks to the generous donations of Gulfstream Boat Club and Boatsetter members, last week our team was able to deliver quite literally a boatload of supplies to areas of the Florida Keys destroyed by Hurricane Irma. 
 
We took off early last Thursday from Gulfstream Boat Club in Delray in a 37-foot Boston Whaler full of food, water, diapers, school supplies, clothing, and more. Our plan was to get as far into the Florida Keys by Boat as we could with the fuel we had. 
 
I spoke with Justin Stuckart, an Army vet who is working with Congressman Brian Mast to coordinate relief efforts throughout the Keys. Justin and I were in touch throughout the week. He also connected me with Tracy Garcia, a resident of Marathon, one of the hardest-hit places. She’s working every day to help get families back on their feet, and specifically to get the schools back open. Part of that mission includes getting students and their families much-needed supplies.
We delivered diapers, water, food, and more to Marathon Key.
We delivered diapers, water, food, and more to Marathon Key.
On our way south we started calling marinas asking if we could take on some fuel, but most were closed or out of fuel. However, Valerie at Shelter Bay Marine in Marathon welcomed us. She invited us to coordinate with Tracy there. Shelter Bay was able to get us 100 gallons of fuel (which we needed to get home), and their team helped us unload. It was a wonderful moment of community.

 

Much of the Keys is still recovering from Hurricane Irma.
Much of the Keys is still recovering from Hurricane Irma.
There is still a grave lack of fuel and power in Marathon, Big Pine, and Cudjoe Key. The residents we encountered were very thankful, but obviously tired, sad, and hurting. Seeing us show up with thousands of pounds of food, school supplies, clothing, and more brought them a good measure of joy and relief. 
We're feeling lucky that we did not sustain much damage from recent hurricanes, and feel compelled to help others that did.
We’re feeling lucky that we did not sustain much damage from recent hurricanes, and feel compelled to help others that did.

 With four major natural disasters in and near the U.S. during the last few months, we urge local businesses to lend a hand to their communities, and others in need. Thank you again for your support and donations. —Alex Warner, Owner, Gulfstream Boat Club

Children’s Life Jackets and Other Boating Safety Tips

Each GBC boat is loaded with children's life jackets—use them while doing water sports as well!
Each GBC boat is loaded with children’s life jackets—use them while doing water sports as well!

Children’s life jackets are a must in terms of boat safety.

There’s also a lot more that Gulfstream Boat Club offers to keep your family safe on a boating trip or fishing cruise.

Every new GBC member receives a free boating orientation. We’ll show you how to operate a boat, the features of each model, and of course where the adults and children’s life jackets are located. We require that children under the age of six wear a life jacket, and we strongly recommend it for older children and adults while on board, or when waterskiing, tubing, or doing other water sports.

Gulfstream Boat Club prides itself on keeping our boats expertly maintained and safe; and for you as a member, it’s one of the top benefits. Why own a boat?

Did you know that preventable injuries are the #1 cause of death of kids in the United States? Children’s life jackets are no joke. Here are some other boating safety tips to ensure a safe cruise from Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization working to help families and communities keep kids safe from injuries.

Boating Safety Tips

Wear a Life Jacket

• Always have your younger children wear a life jacket while on boats, during water sports, or even on the dock. And make sure the life jacket fits snugly by having the child make a “touchdown” signal by raising both arms straight up. If the life jacket hits a child’s chin or ears, it may be too big or the straps may be too loose.
• According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Boating Safety, babies should not travel on a boat — including rowboats, kayaks, motorboats, and sailboats — until they are at the appropriate weight to wear an approved personal flotation device (PFD); and no, car seats don’t count.

Keep Little Kids Warm

• Even if it’s a warm, sunny day when you take off on your South Florida cruise, the weather can change quickly.
• And infants and young kids are at a higher risk for hypothermia. If your children seem cold or are shivering, wrap them tightly in a dry blanket or towel.

Teach Your Kids Basic Boating Rules

The basic boat rules should be followed by everyone. Children need to be taught to keep their hands and feet inside the boat at all times, and not run in or around the boat.

Better Safe than Sorry

• A large portion of boating accidents involve alcohol consumption. To protect your safety and loved ones around you, hire a GBC captain if you’re thinking of drinking on the boat. We’re happy to be your designated driver!
• All GBC captains have CPR training. If you’re thinking of taking out a boat without a captain, it’s great to have someone on board who has had CPR training as well. Local hospitals, fire departments and recreation departments offer CPR training.
• All drivers of a GBC boat must be 25 years of age. Florida law states that no one under the age of 14 may operate a personal watercraft at any time. If your teens would like to fish or cruise without you (gasp!), we’ll provide a fun and responsible captain to safely drive the boat. Oh, and Children’s life jackets are free!

Have you been a GBC member for a while, and would like a refresher course on our boats and boat safety? Or would you like a family member or two to have one as well? Just give us a call at GBC at 561.865.7797 to schedule!