The Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries (LDWF) is directing anyone wishing to volunteer the services of their own personal watercraft to call the department's headquarters in Baton Rouge before proceeding to the rescue area.
LDWF is coordinating the volunteer boat effort for Hurricane Katrina victims and must determine if the boats offered for rescue service meet the needs of the rescue mission underway. The phone numbers to call for volunteers with boats are 225/765-2706 or 800/256-2749, ext. 0. Those phone lines will be answered from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays.
Volunteers must be able to transport and operate their own boats, have provisions for three days - including fuel, food, water and bedding - and be able-bodied, capable of lifting 100 lbs. Volunteers will need to provide name, address and phone number along with a description of the watercraft when they call in. Large bateaus, pontoon barges or any type of flat boat are most needed.
LDWF will contact volunteers when the need for their boat is determined, including location and type of duty required. Volunteers should not enter any rescue area without authorization.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) was contacted by Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco's office and members of the Louisiana Congressional delegation asking for assistance in obtaining critical equipment.
The officials specifically asked for corporate level donations of search and rescue vessels for use by authorities in recovery efforts. Ideal vessels for the effort include pontoon boats, inflatables, personal watercraft, and other low-draft boats. In addition to vessels, relief workers also need generators, battery chargers, marine radios, and outboard motors.
For safety and security reasons, the governor's office is asking for corporate-level donations only and asking that private citizens with personal boats not come to the area.
NMMA is collecting offers from member companies and passing them along to the governor's office. The governor's office will then work with the participating companies to arrange for delivery of the donated products. The office has been overwhelmed with responses and is asking those who have come forward to be patient as they assess their needs and contact companies offering the needed vessels and equipment.
To help, contact the NMMA's Matthew Long or Elinore Boeke with a contact name, phone number, and email address. The organization has vowed to put volunteers in contact with LDWF.
Matthew Long: firstname.lastname@example.org; 202-737-9759
Elinore Boeke: email@example.com; 202-737-9768
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