Captains/Owners, I would like to ask for your advice and feedback on our Sea Mercy Captain Program in the South Pacific. A little background (short version)... Sea Mercy is a US based non-profit organization that provides Floating Health Care Clinics (FHCC) staffed with US/International health care professionals delivering and medical supplies to care to the remote islanders in the South Pacific (see our website for more info). Our initial island nation partner in the South Pacific is the Kingdom of Tonga, but our goal will be to deliver a FHCC to the 10 other island nations.
Here is where I could use your advice and feedback:
Our initial plan was to purchase a vessel to operate as an FHCC for each island nation, but after discussions with captains and owners that we had sailed with in the past, they suggested we offer a program that would allow vessel owners in the South Pacific, or who were willing to relocate to the South Pacific, who wanted to "sail with a more benevolent purpose" to partner with Sea Mercy. They would operate as a FHCC for a particular island nation (or rotate to other island nations). In return, Sea Mercy would cover all operational costs and expenses (fuel, food, fees, etc.) and fairly compensate the owner/captain for the use of their vessel for the period of time of their service. This would greatly reduce the upfront costs of purchasing a vessel (use those resources for medical supplies and staff), allow Sea Mercy to develop the full fleet of FHCC's much faster and therby deliver the much needed health care to these remote islanders. The vessel owners would be able to sail the South Pacific at a minimal expense, work with some great individuals, a make a difference.
If you have the time, I would like to ask you to review the Sea Mercy Captain Program on the website and offer any advice, concerns, suggestions, and feedback on the program and how to best meet the needs of the owner with this program.
Thank you in advance for your advice on this matter.
President & Founder
First, I think it's a noble idea and certainly the need is there. We have spent the last two years cruising the South Pacific and in many places our hearts were nearly broken by the conditions in which locals live - I'm primarily thinking of Vanuatu. In fact, at Port Narvin, I promised the chief that I would work on getting them some school supplies that they so desperately need.
I think the problem with recruiting yachties to volunteer their boats for FHCC is that it's their home with a minimum amount of free space. Our boat is 48' but every square inch is occupied and there's only three of us on board! On top of that, we tend to be very hedonistic and nihilistic. After all, we're retired. We did meet a German dentist on a 50' catamaran who had his main saloon set up as a dental clinic. He sailed all over the South Pacific performing dental work on children for free. His generosity amazed us.
Perhaps an easier way to recruit yachties would be to have them deliver supplies. I know I just got through writing how there's no space on our boat be we could always fit a few small packages.
I wish you much good luck on this worthwhile project. I plan to check your website often to see your progress.