SIMPSON BAY–Many yacht captains have chosen to return to St. Maarten for the remainder of the high season instead of charting a course for other destinations untouched by monster Hurricane Irma.
An increase in demand for slips is already registered for the 2018 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Marinas are rushing to get ready to support this ever-important event to the island’s economy and tourism product.
Salvage work in and around Simpson Bay Lagoon and at marinas will continue for several months to come.
“There is still a lot of work to be done and a lot of lessons to be learned … I can say that work progresses as fast as possible given all the variables and different entities that are involved. The encouraging part is the very strong demand for yachts and cruising class vessels to return to St. Maarten,” St. Maarten Marine Trades Association (SMMTA) president Brian Deher told The Daily Herald.
“Many captains have chosen to return to St. Maarten instead of using some of the competing islands in the region that were not affected by Hurricane Irma like St. Maarten was. This is a true testament to the strength and resilience of St. Maarten’s Marine industry.”
The reason yachts and cruising-class vessels have been so quick to return to St. Maarten instead of just visiting other islands, Deher said, is “because of the people and businesses that make up the St. Maarten marine industry.”
With world-class chandleries, rigging shops, service technicians, agents and other service providers, St. Maarten remains the most efficient island to prepare for the charter season even in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
“We should all be very proud of this and appreciate the fact that the marine industry has the potential to rebound so quickly after a catastrophic hurricane like Irma,” he said.
Going forward, Deher said the most important thing right now is to join together as a community and put past differences behind. “We need to proactively determine how we can better protect ourselves from future hurricanes and other natural disasters,” he said.
SMMTA is actively working with Government departments, Port St. Maarten, Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority Corporation (SLAC) and other stakeholders to proactively prepare for next hurricane season. “We need to be more prepared than ever before, not only for the effects of the hurricane but prepared for the clean-up process and aftermath,” said Deher on Friday.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/72152-high-demand-for-slips-as-more-yachts-return