We work in a world of luxury and abundance. Yachts always have to look their best and this means we go through a lot of things; whether it’s new orchids every few months, new deck towels every other season as the sun has bleached them or food/drinks you bought for a particular charter that you probably won’t be using again any time soon (3 cases of Diet Dr Pepper anyone?).
My crew has always been pretty good at scoffing down leftover guest snacks (and wine for that matter) but what about the rest? I hate trashing things, so here are some other options:
I always try to re-use as much as I can within the yacht, i.e. guest bed sheets with a tiny irremovable dot of mascara might not be adequate for guest use anymore but if it fits the starboard upper crew bunk, then that’s where it will go. Guest beach towels become crew beach towels, same with mismatched cutlery, glassware and crockery.
The guest sheets became crew sheets and they have now reached that point where you would be embarrassed to give them to a new crewmember. What now? Sheets make for excellent rags and drop cloths! Any varnishing works coming up soon? The engineer is re-building the generator and could do with some absorbent rags? The interior is in need of some guaranteed streak-free rags to wipe the mirrors? Egyptian cotton to the rescue! We do the same with tablecloths, napkins and runners.
Next we have uniforms. I will always keep a pile of random sizes for dayworkers in a cupboard somewhere. Generally dayworkers are hired during quick turnarounds and yard periods. That shirt that has some exhaust soot on the back might not do for charter, but it will be just fine for a dayworker repainting the anchor. Once you have kept the “cleanest” uniform aside for dayworkers you can look into what to do with the rest. I generally will donate anything that does not have the yacht logo on it to the nearest charity place. There are organisations to which you can send shirts with logos and they apparently send the items off to somewhere really, really far away so people won’t know the yacht. I haven’t found a reliable organisation like this so instead I prefer to cut out the logo and cut the rest of the shirts and polos up into rags.
Once you’ve re-used and recycled items, you can look into donating the other things. I generally give things away to people I know first, whether they are contractors, marina employees or other yachts. Especially in the Caribbean plenty of marina employees will be happy to try and regrow plants and orchids or will be delighted with a bunch of wine glasses that don’t match the new ones the owner’s wife got. I also remember this time we got a new kind of Sodastream machine that was a different brand and the Sodastream bottles didn’t work with it. I put a post up on one of the yachting Facebook groups and someone quickly came by to pick up the bottles. Sorted!
Once you’ve exhausted your network, you can then look into donating to the needy. There are plenty of charities worldwide that can do with material help. Here’s a list of charities worldwide and the kind of items they will accept:
- Yachting Gives Back: New organisation, run by retired yachties, that started in spring 2019. They’re after anything you might not need anymore: foods and drinks, exterior toys, cleaning products, clothing… anything! Once picked up they distribute it among the needy organisations in Palma, including Associacio Tardor (see below).
- Allen Graham Charity: Organisation that helps children and young people in need. They have two charity shops so anything that could be sold there is more than welcome.
- Associació Tardor: Local soup kitchen that can always do with dry stores (food/drinks).
South of France
- Yachts des Coeurs / Ecomer / Can also be contacted through Facebook (will accept anything from old/unused uniform, mattresses, dry stores (food/drinks)… and distribute among the local charities)
- ABSAR (Antigua & Barbuda Search and Rescue, based at the Antigua Yacht Club) will accept any drugs/medication, even when gone out of date. They will also be able to tell you whom could benefit from other items you may wish to donate as they are in contact with the local orphanage etc.
St. Martin / St. Maarten
- Red Cross (based in Simpson Bay) will accept anything and distribute it among the needy in SXM.
- “Collecting Goods for the Needy in SXM” Facebook group organised by two ladies to help out their fellow islanders. They will accept anything and help the most needed, include the women’s shelter.
- Goodwill (clothing and household items)
Do you know of any other charities? Do let me know and I’ll add them to the list!