Life Bag Project Summary

As 2022 starts off with a few shaky steps we look back over 2021 with satisfaction knowing that the Food Relief project that we started back in 2020 had a dramatic impact on our local community as well as our staff, team and volunteers involved in the project.

Across 2021 we delivered in excess of 410,000 life bags, this is a staggering number of life bags when you consider that this project started off in a spare room, at a house, with a team of 3-5 packing 300 – 500 bags a time.

Here’s a look back at some of the key milestones of 2021 in our Life Bag Project:

January 30th 2021 – This was our first large group pack held at the Sutai Muay Thai Gym where we packed over 1000 life bags in a 2–3-hour period with the help of over 80 Volunteers.  This was the start of weekly large group packing sessions that we conducted during the times where Covid was under control and the rules allowed us to. These large group packing sessions led to relationships with the International Schools, Hotels, and alike who proved to be valuable partners in packing life bags across the year.

February 10th 2021 – We had the Bangkok Mission President visit with his family to help pack and distribute life bags using the Church Members.  This was the start of our project to invite members of the church to be involved in packing life bags and delivering them to their friends and family who are not Church members.

March 1st 2021 – This was our first official “Packing Pod” where we delivered life bag supplies to the UWCT school who then packed the life bags for us, we then picked them up and delivered them.  This turned out to be invaluable throughout the year with Packing Pods across all of Phuket picking up packing when normal packing operations could not be conducted.

March 8th 2021 – Throughout the network of village chiefs we discovered a large number of immigrant workers that were in need and we delivered life bags to the immigrant workers.  We also worked on a media campaign to bring awareness to the issues in immigrant worker camps.

March 10th 2021 – A large pack occurred at Blue Tree Water Park as part of a combined effort between local businesses to work together to provide relief to the villages that their employees came from.  This was further growth on the community packs we started in January.

April 2nd 2021 – Fulltime Volunteer Coordinators Pete and Nina took over the logistics of all packing, delivery, and supply auditing.  They had previously been providing support from 2020 and this was their move into the role as full-time volunteers on this project and others in the future.

April 8th 2021 – On a personal note Lucus packed 1000+ life bags and delivered them personally after noticing a community on his own that needed help.

May 1st 2021 – Packing pods continued with UWCT students and teachers packing over 2000 life bags in a day.

May 3rd 2021 – The largest ever boat-based island delivery took place with 5 Star Marine providing 5 boats to transfer Life Bags from Phuket to Koh Yao Yai where we were joined with Village Chiefs from across the entire islands.   One of the largest coordination projects ever undertaken in this Project.

May 5th 2021 – Our Community Isolation program for delivering life bags to community members ordered into quarantine continues with a spike in cases causing greater need in these programs.

May 20th 2021 – BISP starts their community service project with us, packing life bags with the students as another signed on packing Pod.

May 24th 2021 – The Governor and the President of the Phuket Red Cross make contact requesting help in the form of Life Bags for residents across Phuket that are registered with the Provincial Government and the Red Cross.

May 29th 2021 – Hot meals are once again cooked and prepared by the Volunteer team for local communities using left over food supplies from previous packing sessions.

June 7th 2021 – Covid case numbers are forcing creative ways to pack and prepare life bags with our family home turning into a make-shift packing center and all family members getting involved.

June 8th 2021 – The President of the Phuket Red Cross contacts us again seeking assistance with communities on Phuket who are in need of Emergency Food Relief.

June 10th 2021 – The Telegraph from the UK joins us onboard as we work with the Sheriff of Phang Nga to deliver Emergency Life Bag supplies to communities that are isolated on Islands around Phuket.

June 11th 2021 – The single largest 3-day pack is undertaken by 5 Star Marine and the Volunteer team packing, delivering and preparing 5000+ life bags across 3 bags as a combined project with the Governor and the President of the Phuket Red Cross.

July 10th 2021 – Incremental weather does not stop the Donation Volunteers and Team packing and delivering life bags in all kinds of weather, across all hours of the day and days of the week.

July 17th 2021 – Jim and their Family join the volunteer team to pack and deliver life bags across Phuket and the surrounding Islands.

July 23rd 2021 – Nighttime packing is resumed to keep up with demand for Life Bags across Phuket as the community still struggles despite the opening of the Phuket Sandbox.  Economic effects of the Phuket Sandbox are really low.

July 28th 2021 – Our community isolation life bag project continues on with our team providing life bags to those that are isolated in communities.

July 31st 2021 – Some of the most shocking images of our entire Life Bag Project emerge with lines so long we just can’t keep up with demand.  Villagers are upset that we are unable to help them and they have nowhere to turn.

August 1st 2021 – With large numbers of villages fully closed we are delivering bulk supplies to the Covid Safe staging centers where we have members of the village that are covid negative coming to pick up supplies and distribute with Government Health workers.

August 2nd 2021 – Lines continue to get longer; need continues to grow and our team are exhausted both physically and emotionally.

August 11th 2021 – K. Zeera and the team receive an emergency call for support at 10pm at night.  K. Zeera loads up her motorbike and takes life bags immediately to Phuket Town to help out those in urgent need.

August 14th 2021 – Head Start International school joins our packing pod program and helps to pack life bags onsite at their school.

August 25th 2021 – Koh Lipe, an island 4hr and 30 minutes from Phuket is isolated with no tourism or means to survive so working with partners in the Marine Industry we organize a boat full of supplies to be delivered to Koh Lipe and surrounding islands.

September 2nd 2021 – Working with Dave from the Halfway Inn in Patong food relief is delivered into some of the hard-hit areas around Patong and the nightlife areas of Patong.

September 5th 2021 – The 5 Star Marine boat team undertake an even more significant deliver of Life Bags to the outer islands with over 2500 Life bags on boats and delivered.

September 30th 2021 – Our team return from a delivery day exhausted emotionally and physically, having been going for over 18 months they need a rest and break but they won’t take it.

October 10th 2021 – Shaun’s Birthday delivery of life bags, packing and delivering life bags across his birthday and the day after.

October 13th 2021 – Our team goes into some of the hardest-hit covid areas and help community members who are too sick to leave their rooms, homes, or beds.

October 27th 2021Living Waters Phuket with 5 Star Marine The Phuket Red Cross and The Phuket Governor pack and deliver 8000+ life bags across 5 days in the single largest private donation ever given to Phuket communities.

Phuket Sandbox – What Can You Do? Where Can You Go? Is Island Hopping Even Allowed?

ANNOUNCEMENT – Thailand Pass Rules Update Frequently, The Information In The Below Post Is Now Out Of Date For Latest News Please Visit: https://5starmarinephuket.com/phuket-sandbox-rules-and-updates/


With Phuket and Thailand changing the rules for entry into the Country in January there has been a lot of questions from travelers around what they can and can’t do, where they can visit by boat, and what island hopping tours are allowed.

Shaun took some time to film a video complete with a map of Phuket and its surrounding islands to give you an idea of where you can go. The good news is that islands like James Bond Island, Phi Phi Island, and even Hong Krabi are allowed to visit areas.

Find out more in the video below:

The Ongoing Emergency Food Security Crisis In Phuket

If you are living in Phuket then you would be fully aware of the escalating covid situation here. Cases are going up, workers are being ordered to stay at home, communities are being isolated.

This is not something new, in fact it’s something that countries worldwide have been battling now for almost 3 years. The problem here in Phuket is that we are an island that relies on tourism for most employment and economic opportunities. In fact over 90% of the the islands population are directly employed by tourism or tourism supporting activities.

When cases rise like this tourism confidence is affected, tourism arrivals decrease, tourism employers lay off workers and food security becomes a huge problem. Unfortunately this is also not a new experience here in Phuket. It is something that our team here at 5 Star Marine have been working to support over the last 20+ months.

Over the last few days our phones have not stopped calling with Village Leaders asking for help. As part of our large scale food security operation over the last 20 months we connected with over 130 village leaders and helped them and there community members to fight through and survive with “Life Bags”

We had hoped in 2022 the need for life bags would decline but this is not the case.

5 Star Marine is following its commitment to keeping helping provide Life Bags and is funding 1000’s of life bags a week. This is all being done through the Charitable Foundation that they founded called Living Waters Phuket.

To find out more about Living Waters Phuket and also this latest rise in need for life bags please take a read of this great article by The Thaiger:

Thailand Pass Adventures – What To Do In Phuket If You Can’t Go Island Hopping By Boat!

Join Jay as he takes you on a kid-friendly tour around Phuket’s attractions that are not snorkeling, island hopping. Visit the Phuket Aquarium, Monkey Hill and so much more in this video.

See more here:

Thailand Pass Adventures – Welcome To The 5 Star Marine Office

Join Jay and Shaun (or is it really Shaun) as they tour the 5 Star Marine offices and show you a little behind the scenes of what happens while you are out on tour.

For things to run smoothly on the water the hard-working admin team and management team are always cleaning, preparing, and organizing from the office. In fact, the teamwork such long hours keeping up the 5 Star Marine standards that often a little midday nap is required.

See the full details here:

BREAKING NEWS – Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi Sandbox Open – Test And Go Closed

ANNOUNCEMENT – Thailand Pass Rules Update Frequently, The Information In The Below Post Is Now Out Of Date For Latest News Please Visit: https://5starmarinephuket.com/phuket-sandbox-rules-and-updates/


Apologies for all the updates lately but as we stay on top of the changing nature of entry into Thailand we feel it is important to keep our customers updated. On Friday the CCSA held a meeting to discuss new measures and restrictions as it relates to Thailand in response to the rising case numbers caused by the latest variant.

Get the latest news here:

Thailand Pass – Test And Go CLOSED – Phuket Sandbox Open – THE LATEST NEWS!

ANNOUNCEMENT – Thailand Pass Rules Update Frequently, The Information In The Below Post Is Now Out Of Date For Latest News Please Visit: https://5starmarinephuket.com/phuket-sandbox-rules-and-updates/


With the latest outbreak of Covid starting to affect travel internationally Thailand has made changes to the entry requirements into Thailand. One of the major changes is that the Test and Go system for entry is now suspended indefinitely.

Right now the only way to enter Thailand without 14 days Quarantine is via the Phuket Sandbox program. To find out all the details join Jay and Shaun as they discuss the latest news:

Phuket Thailand News Update – December 2021 – What’s Happening In Phuket?

ANNOUNCEMENT – Thailand Pass Rules Update Frequently, The Information In The Below Post Is Now Out Of Date For Latest News Please Visit: https://5starmarinephuket.com/phuket-sandbox-rules-and-updates/


Join Jay and Shaun as they discuss the gradual return of tourism to Phuket, how we can tell tourism is returning, and check out one of Jay’s favorite Som Tum Restaurants in Phuket.

Oh and for those who are interested Shaun talks about some of the challenges facing the unemployed as tourism returns.

And That’s A Wrap

We are excited to remain open for the entire Christmas and New Year period, and are looking forward to welcoming you on board for a tailor-made and festive private speedboat tour with us during this time!

Reflecting on the last 12 months, we would like to say a heartfelt THANK YOU for the level of support we received from all of our wonderfully loyal, local customers, who have helped us during the past 20 months. Without you, we would not still be operating as we are today, and for that our company, team, captains, and tour guides are immensely grateful.

As a company, we managed to take time to regroup and focus on reprioritizing our efforts, and this meant rolling up our sleeves and getting busy. We keep continuing to support the vulnerable communities and the people around us via our charity efforts, with 5 Star Marine involved in all packing and delivery efforts of essential food relief parcels and bags. We focused on the upside wherever we could see or create one. We wanted to look at where we could add value to our community and what we should be doing during this time.


Living Waters Phuket Foundation was born from this desire to help and continue to support our community; it was set up to build brighter futures for communities in need and provides financial grants for projects around relief areas including sustainable food security, education requirements, renewable energy, and environmental issues. We are excited to report that already in only 6 weeks, 4 major funded projects have been completed and many, many more have applied for funding and are undergoing our impartial review process for approval.

Find out more on the website You can also watch our YouTube video on some of our latest grants:

 

We were thrilled to see many new destinations open back up for our day tours, and now offer over 11 stunning destinations including the Similan Islands, Phi Phi, Racha, Phang Nga Bay, Coral Island, Krabi tours, Mai Ton Dolphin Spotting plus many more tailor-made options to ensure you had the perfect day out. We saw a rise in popularity of our dual tour to Phi Phi and James Bond Island which literally has something for everyone; plus, we are awaiting the much-anticipated opening of Maya Bay on 1st January 2022.

You can watch more on Maya Bay and Shaun’s personal thoughts here:

Our YouTube channel has gone from strength to strength and we appreciate all the love and support we are getting. If you haven’t done so already, please subscribe and follow here:

5 Star Marine Youtube

5 Star Marine was lucky to welcome so much interest and publicity from bloggers and news reporters – we are grateful for the coverage and interest in our community efforts. Chris Parker, (from Retired Working For You), joined to see our food packing and delivery efforts first hand to see exactly what goes on behind the scenes of each vital life bag.

We also gained and appreciate hugely the support of local and international media, including but not limited to:

During the last year, we also had a chance to more than double the size of our fleet; we now have 15 Private VIP Speedboats and a VIP Luxury Cruiser which is a proud extension to our current speedboat fleet and offers a truly unique experience on the water.  In addition, to accommodate our growing fleet size, the domestic market support, and prepare for the return of international tourists, we moved piers and into a new office at Boat Lagoon, Phuket. We love our new glass-fronted office which has been a more welcoming environment for all our loyal VIP customers.

 

So, to wrap it up – it has been a year of highs and lows, of challenges and new opportunities. We are thankful, grateful, and happy to be where we are and we will continue to help those in the community who need it most; and will always be grateful to our loyal customers for making 2021 the year it was for us.

Thank you,

Shaun and the entire 5 Star Marine Team

As Tourism Starts To Resume Our Food Relief Project Continues.

For over 20 months the 5 Star Marine team has been purchasing dry food supplies, packing life bags, and then distributing them into the community. This project started during the first Covid Lockdown in Phuket. From there it has grown from a few hundred bags a week to a few thousand bags a week.

In fact, just recently the 5 Star Marine team packed over 8000+ super life bags with over 4 tonnes of rice. This project is funded by the 5 Star Marine Founders and is expanding now beyond just food relief.

As tourism starts to return employment becomes available, not at a scale yet where the problem ceases, but it is becoming more accessible. As this return tourism continues the 5 Star Marine team are focusing on projects to help support the community in its recovery.

Find out more in the video below: