Seven Seas Cruising Association(SSCA) Announces New Clean Wake Partnership with Hope Fleet
For years some SSCA members have found creative ways to "give back" to the island communities we love to visit. A new SSCA Clean Wake project partnering with the Hope Fleet organization can provide structure and safety in these efforts. Like SSCA, Hope Fleet sees the immediate and long term benefits of connecting boaters to the communities that they visit. When done with care, wonderful relationships can be fostered between the boaters and local people with mutual respect and gratitude–making each experience positive and long-lasting.
Hope Fleet is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization whose goal is to enhance the lives and well being of communities and particularly children, primarily in the Bahamas and Caribbean islands http://www.hopefleet.org. They have been growing direct relationships with local island communities since 2019. Hope Fleet provides structure and support to boaters, such as SSCA members, to bring school supplies, medical clinic supplies and other support items to specific island communities. Hope Fleet will obtain and prepare items for transport by SSCA members in their boats. One unique feature of Hope Fleet is that it develops relationships with key local people. In many cases delivery sailors have an opportunity to spend a few days helping directly in the school or community where items are delivered. This is more than simply dropping off needed items. It is our hope that meaningful relationships will continue to develop.
Hope Fleet Mission Statement: "We sail essential supplies, services, and hope to the children who need it most."
Hope Fleet was founded in response to the needs of vulnerable children—living in the Caribbean and Latin America—who lack essential supplies, medicine, and education needed for a healthy and full life.
Our three focus areas:
- Child Wellbeing (basic needs, medical, educational)
- Community Development (community projects, agriculture, sustainability)
- Disaster Response (emergency response, rebuilding efforts)
Our Approach: Each community has its own set of unique challenges, and we know that the best way for a community to grow is from within. We find and vet local initiatives where locals are already doing meaningful work and support them so that they can further their cause. We work together with local churches, community leaders, ministries, schools, clinics etc., and partners to not only tackle the immediate needs, but to address root issues. Using sailboats, together with a growing network of private boaters, we provide necessary supplies, skills, and relationships so communities can become more self-sufficient.
Procedure, Costs, and Customs:
Procurement: Our work is "needs-based". This means that we don't procure or load up supplies without first understanding exactly what the recipient partner's needs are. Once we get a needs list from a partner, then we match that with what we have on hand, or aim to procure from different sources.
Loading: It is our responsibility to obtain, provide ground transportation, and assist in loading supplies onto the vessel agreeing to transport on our behalf. Once everything is loaded, we provide paperwork, including a manifest of everything that is being carried. This paperwork will be shown to the customs officer on arrival and the marina.
Customs: We build relationships with government officials and customs officers to have items pre-approved to be accepted by the recipient. By having a counterpart in the receiving country, along with pertinent government relationships, we build trust so that each vessel isn't required to establish a relationship of its own, but rather show it is part of an organized and compliant network of boaters who support local humanitarian projects. Our recipient partners also meet boaters at the docks to help with any unforeseen issues and offloading.
Engaging With Locals: By meeting trusted local partners at the port of call, it introduces each boater to a person or group who they can trust and often become more connected with than just at the docks. When safe and possible, we try to connect boaters to opportunities to either visit or volunteer at a project to not only connect boaters to their impact, but to lay the foundation of possible repeat visits and positive relationships between boaters and locals.
Background Checks & Costs: We do significant research and vetting to ensure local partners have integrity and are trustworthy. We must also build trust with each captain, vessel, and crew for safety. If the project is mostly supply delivery, we do ask that at least the captain of each vessel undergo a background check. However, if the project is more handson with locals, we may ask crew members to complete a background check as well (i.e. volunteering with children). The cost is $19 per person and that is completed through a trusted third-party company. Hope Fleet does not receive any revenue from background checks and this is the only cost requirement SSCA boaters should expect from Hope Fleet.
Follow-Up: In order to ensure each project is successful, we ask for boaters and recipients to fill in an online project recap assessment. This allows for us to take on any complaints, issues, or bring to light anything that we can better adjust going forward for future projects. This also allows the opportunity for us to gain better insight into the integrity of both parties without our staff physically being present. After this, we share success stories and make sure that each boater is valued and appreciated for their sacrifices and efforts. We understand that making any passage is a lot of work, so when boaters want to help along the way, we don't take that for granted.
For more information on how you can get involved, please visit hopefleet.org/ocean-reach
1 min Hope Fleet General Info Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH51CSYlHxw
Two of our current projects:
Dates: Ongoing Location: Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic Main
Port of Call: Ocean World Marina 19.8265° N, 70.7334° W
Project Needs: Humanitarian Supplies Transport: Medical, Educational, Food & Clothing.
Project Notes: We are partnering with and supporting several organizations and churches on the north coast of the DR who are taking care of the immediate needs in their communities. If you have sail plans that include this location, please reach out to us.
-We will load up any vessels departing from mainland South Florida—currently Ft. Lauderdale to Tampa
-We will provide all supplies, documentation, and relevant information to make loading, clearing in, and offloading as smooth as possible.
-If you have donated goods that you would like to donate, please let us know so that we can ensure goods are needed and approved.
Dates: Oct 2022 - January 2023
Location: Grand Bahama, Abaco, Nassau (more details coming soon) Main Port of Call: Grand Bahama Yacht Club 26°31'00.6"N 78°38'14.9"W
Project Needs: Bucket transportation from Florida.
Project Notes: Hope Buckets are backyard agricultural kits to help promote sustainability for the Bahamas. We have 1,400 buckets each including seeds, irrigation tubing, soil, trays and everything needed to create a backyard garden. This project is in collaboration with Convoy of Hope, Hope Seeds, and the Ministry of Agriculture in The Bahamas. All items are self-contained and pre-approved for clearance.
Media: Link to give SSCA access to several applicable photos. https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1I2dB-3fI5jrfMPm-dp8pQM2PgKKvKOG5?usp=sharing
Cell (321) 427-6651
Our SSCA Main Contact/Point Person: