Hurricane Dorian became a monster unexpectedly and changed the world of the Bahamas... As Founder of OWNA, and living in SE Florida, I have had the privilege of helping with collaboration between the major and local organizations, all working to collect, get supplies to the islands and distributed to the right people. The efforts of these organizations are immense, having moved 1000s of tons of supplies, landed 100s of volunteers to distribute, offering professional support. Cooperation is leading the way, especially after this first round of 24/7 response. As the supply chain finances decrease and the needs become more specific, everyone is working together so that not one area of the islands is missed with supplies to meet their specific needs at their stage of recovery. I have been working alongside the most amazing folks, giving 1000%.
OWNA is stepping up our program to realize a dream. Since 2008, I have sought the technical expertise needed to provide support to the transient, seasonal, as well as full-time cruiser; sail and power vessels. We now are able to utilize sophisticated logistical satellite data gathering software, developed by Eagles Wings Disaster Solutions, along with web development guru, John Simion, to aid in interactive functionality. Our vision is to empower the Marine Community to 'Cruise with a Cause'.
OWNA is gathering up-to-date progress, contacts, status for every island affected. After Hurricane Dorian, the entire world has gathered to help the shattered physical world of the peoples in the Great and Little Abaco and Grand Bahama Island. Great strides have been made in an incredibly short period of time. The fast paced professional first responder groups are finishing up their campaigns. The vast fleets of Black Hawk Helicopters that brought initial lifesaving drops of food and evacuations, are heading home... but the work has only just begun as the stage of recovery moves from emergency relief to restoration of the basic needs to allow the traumatized but powerful community of Bahamians to return to their homes to begin rebuilding their lives, their businesses, livelihoods, kids returning to school... Normalcy in a different form. It will take a long-term effort to stay committed to help the Bahamian people toward a timely restoration. I know the Sailing and Power yachting community is staging to help.
OWNA is preparing to provide information, and support for the individual vessels and for the Bahamian people. This process will be in place to support the next need, the next time... anywhere. As we saw and still see after Hurricane Irma, the transient, and seasonal, as well as full-time cruiser, sail and power vessel community are making a powerful impact helping in all phases of recovery dealing with the disaster; pouring supplies, expert skills, and support, emotional and practical. There are thousands of dedicated vessel owners and organizations that changed lives by caring. I know the participants in the upcoming sailing and power boat rallies as well as individual yachtsmen doing their great circle route around the Atlantic, are heading south and want to help.
Given the logistics of the islands, the government process for assisting, and the potential of security issues as the islands move through the recovery process, we are strongly encouraging yachts and aid organizations to participate in coordination of efforts; Whether a resource for supplies, on the ground in the islands, or aboard your vessel coordinating your efforts, we are here to help. Whether you decide to take a detour to help on your way to the Caribbean, make a stop on your way to some other cruising grounds in the Bahamas, Eleuthera, Exumas, Hispaniola, the western Caribbean... please help us to coordinate this effort for your safety and the greater restoration.
The OWNA Heartbeat APP from Virtual Badge allows individuals or vessels to download an application that provides vital information for security, as well as a data collection and analysis, locations of supplies and resources. There are forms embedded specifically to the effort in the Bahamas for gathering general information of islands assisted, as well as detail forms for immediate efforts in a specific location. The forms are geo-located via the smartphone. The data downloads once in WiFi connection. The information has small data usage as it is all simple text excel data, pictures reduced to thumbnails.
The process to get a badge includes downloading the application, creating an account, answering the questions for the credential (yacht information, safety information); then the badge is pending for approval. I get notifications of any pending badge, which I approve. Virtual Badge APP is used by thousands of workers for huge corporations; thus it has this credentialing ability. Organizations with multiple members can have their own badge designation, the information from their workers' badges analyzed, reports available to the administrator of group. It can be used to validate quality and quantity of the organizations efforts, useful in grant development. The data is also available to the larger effort. If your organization wants to work directly with VB for general operation of your organization, contact John to specialize your organizations application.
As we discover the skills of crews, we can help connect the skills and resources with the area of the islands needing help... though truthfully, they all need the expertise the yachting community has to offer. The mantra in an effort like this one is not about who does or gets what but the fact that it is happening; someone is being helped, their lives on the mend.
The Heartbeat APP is only one part of the solution... the rest will be done face to face, messenger to messenger... OWNA... where smiles greet you and the sense of satisfaction follows in your wake.