Help is on the way for marina fire victims

Published 10:35 pm Thursday, February 3, 2011

Staff Writer

Funds raised in a relief effort for the owners of 26 boats destroyed last month by a fire at McCotter’s Marina will be distributed to those boat owners Friday morning.
The distribution begins at 11 a.m. when representatives from the Salty Southeast Cruisers Net will hand out the funds collected by way of group’s website,
The fire happened in the early morning hours Jan. 7, destroying the boats and docks and injuring a few people who lived on their vessels.
Claiborne Young, coordinator of the relief effort and a cruising expert, said he will be handing out checks.
“Cruisers Net is a community of cruisers,” he said. “While they may not personally know the people affected, they certainly understand and sympathize with the circumstances.”
As word about the damage spread, so did the support from boaters and cruisers up and down the East Coast, reads a news release issued by Lynn Lewis, Washington’s tourism-development director.
The Salty Southeast Cruisers Net, an online website and forum for boaters navigating the Atlantic Coastline and Intracoastal Waterway, responded by establishing a fire-relief fund for the affected boat owners, the release noted.
“So far, we’ve raised between $4,500 and $5,000,” he said. “And the checks are still coming in every day.”
Young said funds will be distributed until the end of February.
“We got the idea to raise money because so many people lost their boats and live-aboard boats,” Young said. “And we wanted to get together and do something for these people who lost, well, everything.”
Young said he called his friendly competition, and they agreed to help get the word out about raising money for those who lost their boats in the fire.
“Within 24 hours, from the time of the fire, people started calling and donating money,” Young said. “Even a couple from the United Kingdom, who were in France at the time of the fire, heard about and called to donate $250.”
Young said he was going to raise money until the end of February and donate all of it at once, evenly distributed to the boat owners.
“But people need that money now,” he said.
Young said the boating/cruisers community is a tight-knit group of sailors, especially in the Southeast.
Lewis is assisting Salty Southeast Cruisers Net representatives with the event.
“You can tell a lot about the people on the website ( and the outpouring of support the boaters are receiving,” Lewis said.
She said people who visit the website have heard about the fire, seen the photographs and videos and read about the boat owners’ losses.
“This has created a strong outreach of help from boaters up and down the East Coast,” Lewis said. “And people have already written checks to the boat owners who have lost their boats.”
To find out how to donate to the relief effort, visit