IYBA members and other industry professionals are sending aid to islands devastated by the recent hurricanes.

Here’s how you can help.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria not only brought death, destruction and deprivation to the Caribbean from the Leeward Islands to Sint Maarten – where many of the world’s superyachts home-port during the winter season – to the Turks and Caicos, the Florida Keys and barrier islands along the South Florida and Texas coasts, but also, in the long term, will impact the yachting industry as a whole. Cruising to these islands with their rich history, varied cultures, spectacular scenery and abundant marine life is part of the reason that owners purchase and charter yachts from us – and frankly, why many of us got into this industry in the first place. So, it’s only natural that many IYBA members and other marine professionals are doing their utmost to help these destinations and the people who live there to recover from the storms.

“This is a very sad time for those of us fortuitous enough to have traveled and lived in these cherished places,” said former IYBA President Gary Smith of SYS Yacht Sales, who has started the Island Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund GoFundMe site to help with the relief efforts in the Caribbean’s down islands. Gary, who is a pilot, also has been flying much-needed provisions and supplies personally to down islands like Dominica that have few government resources to depend on and have suffered the biggest brunt of the devastation.

“For this endeavor, we are working independently without an allegiance to one specific organization, giving us the flexibility to choose the organizations and relief efforts we feel are answering the direct needs of affected communities in the best possible way,” he posted. “With this approach to giving, you can be certain that 100% of what we receive will go towards response efforts, as we have no ‘overhead’ and anyone involved will be doing so as a volunteer.” To read Gary’s updates, donate or volunteer, please visit www.gofundme/islandhurricanerelief, call Gary at 941.321.1705 or email

The IYBA’s Charter Professionals Committee also is actively involved in hurricane relief efforts. “We have voted on Samaritan’s Purse as the charity [to support], primarily due to their immediate efforts on the ground in Sint Maarten initially,” said Committee Co-Chair Daphne D’Offay of Ocean Independence. “Since then, they have completed a mission in Turks and Caicos plus they have ongoing relief occurring in Antigua, Barbuda, Dominica, Puerto Rico and Florida. Their accountability and transparency has been noted as very high on sites like and, plus they have received newsworthy recognition from sources like the New York Times, NBC, CNN and more for their first-response efforts to Hurricane Irma (and Maria)….” She added, “Their website has several videos and news articles that clearly depict the reality of their efforts across the Caribbean. For more information, please visit

Ann McHorney of Select Yachts posted this plea for help for Dominica on the IYBA website: “On Monday, September 18th, Category 5 Hurricane Maria struck the beautiful island of Dominica with full assault. As one of the poorer of the islands, much help is needed there for people to survive the upcoming days. A group has been formed to get supplies to the island and to extract the neediest people from the island, such as injured and at-risk people.

“We are working through the kind aid of International Rescue Group, the islands of Grenada and St. Lucia, the local yachting communities, the most generous Captain Mike on tug FLYING BUZZARD, and Captain Dave Bean of MAJESTIC SPIRIT catamaran. Assistance from Grenada has been enormous with fueling, 50 tarps, 4 doctors and countless supplies donated…. St. Lucia is also a staging ground for FLYING BUZZARD tug and some private, cruising, and charter yachts taking supplies and moving people. All taxes on goods entering have been waived by the Dominica government…. Fund donations are much appreciated and all donations are under supervision of a controller arranged on Grenada. If anyone can help with services as well, please feel free to contact”

IYBA has created a page on its website at where members may share information about other charitable associations that effectively are providing hurricane relief during this time when our help is needed in so many of the places that we love.

Article Author: Louisa Beckett, Turnkey Communications & PR, Inc.