When the helicopters and air lift operations can’t keep up, it’s time to call for more boaters. Search and rescue operations are maxed out in Texas after Hurricane Harvey has dumped close to 50 inches of rain in the area. Boats seem to be the only way to evacuate people quickly and in mass numbers, and even that isn’t doing enough to help the thousands of stranded people along the Texas coast. But the boaters are coming from nearby and faraway places, boats in tow, using exit ramps as boat launches.
The Cajun Navy, a group of boat owners from Louisiana, formed after Katrina’s unwieldy rescue operations fell short, depended on Texans with boats for rescue help after Katrina stranded thousands around New Orleans. Those same boaters have arrived in force in Texas, boats in tow, to lend a hand to the rescue efforts. With much of southern Texas underwater, and with SAR operations maxed out, boats are the fastest, easiest way to get to these stranded citizens.
Marine companies are helping with the rescue efforts, too. Wal-Mart has sent over 2000 kayaks to Texas, Bass Pro Shops has donated more than 80 Tracker boats to the rescue effort and Mercury, Yamaha, Brunswick Marine and Boston Whaler have sent boats, life jackets and engines to help. Additionally, many of these companies have Texas facilities which are shut down due to flooding, so assistance is being given to employees for their own rescues.
According to Soundings Trade Only Today, “Texas is a significant boating state, ranking second, just behind Florida, for total new boat, engine and accessory sales at $1.4 billion in 2016, according to NMMA’s Statistical Abstract. There are about 573,000 registered boats in Texas.”
In a time when the country seems so divided and political tempers are flaring, it’s nice to see this massive rescue pulled together with the help of our brother and sisterhood of boaters. All for one and one for all! Now, get in the boat!
We encourage you to help Texans as well. To donate to the Hurricane Harvey rescue efforts, visit the Red Cross, or by call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.