The images of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are serving as a call to action for men and women who have built their lives on the water like Vero Beach boatbuilders Mark Castlow and Jimbo Meador, and Meador’s longtime friend, musician Jimmy Buffett.
Days after people began to learn about the magnitude of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, Castlow e-mailed Meador and Buffett who were in the Bahamas fishing for bonefish. Castlow’s message was simple: “We have to do something.”
Early next week, Dragonfly Boatworks, a small custom boatbuilding company, expects to ship a vessel designed specifically to aid in the recovery of oil-covered wildlife along the marshes of the Gulf Coast.
The first SWAT is headed to the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory operated by the University of Southern Mississippi. The scientists there were chosen to receive the first one in part because it is Buffett’s alma mater.
The singer, songwriter, restaurateur and author is underwriting the construction costs of the four boats estimated at about $35,000 apiece. Dragonfly Boatworks also is donating much of the expense, and the company is in the process of trying to partner with an outboard engine manufacturer to help with the cause.