Four weeks ago, Southwest Florida was devasted by the deadliest hurricane to strike Florida since 1935. In Ian’s wake, communities were not only scrambling to ensure their families and loved ones were safe, but many were left to rebuild their businesses or ensure they still had jobs. Because of the extreme winds and record storm surge, some of those hardest hit were the people in our region’s marine industry.

Boaters Helping Boaters. Hurricane Ian Marine Industry Family Fund.

Identifying an immediate need, the Marine Industries Association of Southwest Florida and Tampa Bay (MIA), in partnership with the Old Salt Fishing Foundation, announced the formation of the Boaters Helping Boaters Hurricane Relief Fund, supporting families of those making a living on Southwest Florida waters. 

“It is hard to imagine the challenges our members and all those a part of Southwest Florida’s Marine Industry have faced in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian,” said MIA Executive Director John Good. “At the same time, it is heartwarming to see the outpouring of support and the efforts being made by our industry to get back to some level of normalcy as quickly as possible. While there are many worthwhile fund-raising efforts, our goal is to put dollars directly into the hands of those in our industry most in need. We are thankful that our friends at The Old Salt Fishing Foundation are joining the effort with us.” 

Established in 1971, the Foundation’s mission is “To create, protect and promote recreational fishing opportunities for Florida anglers and their families.” With an all-volunteer staff and board of directors, they hold several annual fishing tournaments, have extensive youth & family outreach programs, and angler education initiatives. Over the past ten years, they have donated more than 1 million dollars to deserving regional charities. Having raised $32,800 during Covid for the fishing community, they have the experience to accept and distribute funds properly. 

100% of the monies collected will go directly into the hands of those in need who are a part of the marine industry, fishing industry, marine law enforcement, and others related to the waterfront. The Foundation and the MIA will work together to be sure the monies go where they are most needed. “We see this as an ongoing effort,” said Good. “With Ian behind us and the area beginning the long road to recovery, folks are going to have needs for a long time and will very much appreciate the support of others in our industry.” The MIA kick-started the fund with a $2,500 donation, and several others jumped aboard, building the fund to almost $35,000.00 as the effort moved forward. 

The Old Salt Fishing Foundation is a 501c3 not-for-profit. Tax-deductible donations can be made online at Checks should be made to Old Salt Fishing Foundation (Hurricane Ian Relief in the notes). Send to PO Box 8564. Madeira Beach, FL 33738 

For more information, contact John Good. 954-570-7785. [email protected]

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