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Training to Aid in Disaster Relief

Aug 3rd 18
By Aileen Mack

The Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, and with the devastation caused by last year’s season, it only makes sense to be prepared. YachtAid Global (YAG) is encouraging yachts planning to cruise in the affected regions to take steps to be ready to respond in the aftermath of large hurricanes.

The superyacht aid organization orchestrates the delivery of disaster relief, development, support, and conservation aid to coastal communities in times of need. Post-storm damage includes lifted roofs, lack of potable water and food, ongoing power source issues, and other facilities needed for islands to be self-sufficient.

“Once yachts begin planning their time in the affected cruising ground, they can speak to their local agents as well as directly to us and we’ll help match them with the most-crucial
supplies each area needs, as well as organize their delivery, government or on-the-ground liaison, and other logistics,” says YAG executive director Tim Forderer.

Kevin Peach, YAG emergency management expert, works with the United Nations, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other international agencies to get accurate information to relay to yachts that wish to respond. This way, they can be sure that they’re carrying aid and supplies that are most essential to recovery for the region.

YAG has partnered with Global Support and Development (GSD), a team of professionals who go into disaster zones to provide full medical teams and other crucial emergency responses, to provide a three-day first responder training course specifically designed for yacht crew for assisting after a disaster.

The free course covers topics from logistics and yacht preparation to medical training and water safety to help crew provide meaningful assistance in an emergency response. It also covers techniques for crew to learn how to protect themselves and the vessel as they carry out their aid, including quarantine preparations and creating a helicopter landing zone.

“Over the years, we have found that the emotional ties that the captain, crew, and owners develop for an area compel them to respond when that area is struck by a natural disaster or emergency,” says YAG founder Mark Drewelow. “Our position is to be proactive and make sure everyone is prepared to respond when that day comes.”

Drewelow stresses the importance of “getting the right stuff to the right people at the right time” and if one of these is wrong, then it creates a new difficulty on top of the original emergency. He also notes that you should “never just assume people need used clothing and things that the boat no longer wants – often these are unneeded and clog up the supply pipeline.”

Yachts are most commonly called on to deliver food and water, but they can also provide medical evacuation and assistance, act as a command post for local officials, and provide data and video communications capabilities. “One of the most important roles yachts play, though, is that of bringing hope. In remote parts of a badly-struck region yachts can be the first vessels to arrive, reassuring locals affected that they are on the relief map,” states the press release.

On-shore agents and managers can communicate with the yacht to organize donations and share the latest information from YAG, which works with regional representatives to make sure well-intentioned aid enquiries don’t swamp the resources in affected areas.

To register for the three-day first responder training course, register with YAG (yachtaidglobal.org), which will organize on behalf of the yacht with GSD. Their team will come to the yacht for the course.