Community Efforts and Preparing for the Road Ahead

Here at 5 Star Marine, we passed a huge milestone this April (2021) – of over 14 months of continuous efforts supporting vulnerable communities in need situated in and around the Phuket and Phang Nga areas.

Over 60-weeks of donations have produced an incredible amount of these Life Bags; more than 160,000 have been paid for, packed, and delivered to date. Each one containing staple items such as eggs, oil, noodles, sauces, and rice, among other essentials.

So, what do these numbers actually mean? Well, each Life Bag can feed a family of 4 for 5 days, which means that over the last 14 months we have already helped over 640,000 people, (and counting), get access to basic food supplies. Our teams put themselves out there in the local communities, going out at least twice per week to make these deliveries, so this number is rising every day.

Through this initiative, we are happy to report that we have already made a huge difference and been able to target some of the remote, hardest to reach, and most at-risk areas and islands utilizing our fleet of 5 Star Marine speedboats.

Even the current and previous waves of Covid-19 here did not halt our charity drives. After seeing first-hand how much devastation was caused to the local economy, our 5 Star Marine team now continues to work even harder to find solutions to continue these indispensable efforts.

We have worked long and hard to build trusted relationships with a network of local OrBorTors, and these connections have enabled us to get insights into the real needs of these communities. So, we are able to identify the highest priority villagers, and where to focus efforts several times a week. The necessity for these Life Bags is now, sadly, greater than ever.

Packing had previously been at Sutai Muay Thai on Saturday mornings by teams of volunteers and schools; in a Covid-19 safe and TAT SHA compliant way. However, as the number of active cases in Phuket has increased, the decision was made to keep everyone safe by reducing the number of packers and revert back to the original core group of 5 Star Marine and Sutai Muay staff (April 2021). With an ever-increasing need for Life Bags as the months go on, it means that our small-scale team will work around the clock to ensure no one is left out.

Our scaled-back team recently managed to finish 1,000 Life Bags in a long 6-hour packing window. To put this into perspective, this would normally have taken just 1 hour with the usual volunteer numbers. However, our team didn’t stop there and after finishing the mammoth packing task, they then went on delivering them without a break.

During the past few months, we have received increasingly frequent and anguished requests for help. Community visits have clearly highlighted that some villagers are desperate, they simply don’t know where to turn, and they are truly struggling.

However, in order to prepare for the road ahead, we at 5 Star Marine have increased our own funds available for donation; meaning we can help more people in need. We will continue to help the communities during this pandemic, and beyond too.

With an understanding that plastic usage during food donations is not ideal, we have teamed up with UWC Thailand to come up with solutions and ways to reduce this.

So, please rest assured that throughout this pandemic, we have and will continue with the buying, packing, and distribution of Life Bags to the communities who rely on us, and often have no other means of getting food.

Please follow @5StarMarinePhuket on FB to see our donation activities. Also, when packing efforts resume, (please note these are currently paused for the safety of volunteers and staff), then why not volunteer some of your time to help out – this really will make a difference.

Stay safe and be kind.

From the 5 Star Marine team. 

UWC Lends a Helping Hand to 5 Star Marine

 

5 Star Marine and Sutai Muay Thai continued to support vulnerable communities in and around Phuket and Phang Nga for over a year now, and to date, we have exceeded over 150,000 life bag donations, (each of the bags contains enough staple supplies to feed a family of 5 for around 4 days). 5 Star Marine’s speedboats enabled to access some of the most at-risk areas and allowed the charity efforts to go further afield. 

Given the complete scale of operations, they recently put out a petition, not for donations, but for more people to help packing of donation bags. So when UWC Thailand International School proposed that they could help as part of their community and Extra-Curricular Activities (ECA’s), this offer was gratefully received. More helping hands was exactly what 5 Star Marine was looking for!  

Packing and delivering over 2,000 life bags each and every week is an immense commitment and the 5 Star Marine team has committed a significant amount of time and effort already. Now thankfully, we have more willing volunteers, as students and teachers help out weekly both on and off-campus.

The school will be providing a 20+ strong team of students and teachers each Saturday to assist with the community packing at Sutai Muay Thai. These sorts of activities are a vital part of student life and learning; providing an opportunity to bring students, staff, and parents, (as well as the wider community), together.

In addition to the off-campus efforts, there will be a weekly group of students (up to around 50), who will aim to pack 1,000 life bags each week for this worthy initiative. In true UWC style, the school has launched a competition inviting all students to challenge the packing process and in particular to look at how to reduce plastic usage, reuse, or recycle elements of the current food packing practices. 

5 Star Marine team are grateful for the hands-on deck needed, and the response from UWC has been a perfect fit to help with these donation efforts. They continue to take the safety of all school and other volunteers, beneficiaries, and staff as of paramount importance, with all donation activities being overseen by public health officers and local arbiters; adhering to screening, sanitizing, and queuing with social distancing guidelines.

Volunteers Needed For Saturday 30th January 2021

This Saturday The 30th January 2021 At 9:00 AM We Need Your Help. Due To The Resurgence Of Covid 19 More And More Families In Phuket Are Without Work. For Over 11 Months We’ve Been Packing And Distributing Life Bags. This Saturday We Need Some Extra Hands To Prepare A Donation.

There Is No Cost, We Are Not Asking For Donations We Want Your Time. We Have Purchased The Supplies, We Have The Packing Tools We Just Need Some Good Old Fashioned Sweat.

DISCLAIMER: Before You, Volunteer To Help Please Note We Use Plastic. Until We Find A Free Source Of 8000+ Environmentally Friendly Bags Per Month We Use Plastic. We Understand The Downside Of Using Plastic But We Just Haven’t Found A Viable, Free Alternative.

For 11 Months We Have Donated And Each Time We Donate We Run Out Of Life Bags. We Are Maximizing Our Resources To Buy Food to Feed More People And The Cost To That Is We Must Use Plastic.

So If You Have Time And Can Help Here Are The Details:

Date: 30th January 2021 (Saturday)
Time: 9:00am
Location: Sutai Muay Thai https://g.page/sutaimuaythai?share

We Will Supply All You Need To Pack. We, Will, Have Covid Screening On-Site And Work To Make It A Safe Packing Environment. Both Sutai Muay Thai and 5 Star Marine Staff Will Be On-Site To Pack And Ensure TAT SHA Compliance.

If You Can Help Comment Below Or Private Message Us. It Takes 10 People About 4hrs To Pack 300 Life Bags. We Are Packing 900+ So We Need At Least 30+ Volunteers!

5 Star Marine Covid Update January 2021

After a pretty rough 2020, we were hoping that 2021 would see a more stable and predictable Domestic Tourism market and the return in a small way of an international tourism market. The reality is that the start of 2021 has seen a lot of uncertainty combined with a resurgence in Covid 19 cases here in Thailand.

To date, Phuket has been lucky enough to not have reported many cases from the recent outbreak but with the amount of inter-provincial travel that occurred over the New Year period, it’s a matter of time before more cases are reported.

What Is 5 Star Marine Doing In Response To The Covid Resurgence?

At this time the Provincial Government of Phuket has not restricted our business or Private Boat Tour companies from operating. We have been ordered to increase the amount of Covid Screening we are doing at our pier.

So in response to the Covid Resurgence, we have implemented as follows:

1. Travel Advice – We have advised customers of ours that have booked multi-day tours outside of the Phuket Province about the possible effect that Covid will have on our ability to complete these tours. We have offered our customers the ability to cancel and refund their tours. We do not offer credits or deferred dates, we prefer to provide full refunds and wait for the government response to Covid to stabilize.

2.One Day Tours – We are operating all of our single-day tours to Phi Phi, Raya, Phang Nga Bay, Hong island, and beyond as normal. For these tours, you will be screened at the pier per our normal TAT SHA accreditation with hand sanitizer and medical masks available on all our boats.

3.Staff Screening – We are screening all of our staff per our TAT SHA regulations and response plan. To date, our staff has not returned any failed screenings but we continue to monitor the situation.

4.Boat Cleaning – We deep clean our boats daily, sanitize all our equipment, and use recommended and regulated procedures to do this in addition to our Company Response Plan which has been in play since March 2020.

Do You Have Availability?

For certain we have bookings and availability on all our boats. Due to orders issued by the BMA and advice provided to inter-provincial travelers a lot of our pre-bookings have now canceled and crews of all our boats are available to complete tours upon request.

Will You Continue Your Donation Program?

We have recommitted with our volunteer team to continue our Life Bag donation program in 2021 with the first day of packing starting on January 4th, 2021.

Why Does 5 Star Marine Donate Life Bags To The Local Community Of Phuket?

Avid followers of our social media know that multiple times a week we are out in the local community donating Life Bags to villagers who are in need.  Covid 19 has devastated the local economy here in Phuket where more than 90% of our GDP was reliant on International Tourism.

When Covid 19 first hit Thailand we all thought it would be around for just a few months and then we could “get back to normal” but Thailand and the world have faced a completely different reality.

Over 100,000 people in Phuket have lost their job with no hope or way of getting another job.  Over 50,000 people have left Phuket for other provinces searching for work in a country that has limited opportunities due to Covid.

Despite all of this, when we are out donating Life Bags we are often asked “Why Are We Helping?”

The answer is simple, I have been living here for 13 years and during that time I have built a number of successful businesses and without the help of the local Thai people, without the help of these communities, this would never have been possible.

I remember when I first started out running boats in Phuket we had all types of trouble.  Boat engines would have issues, fuel lines would clog, you name the problem and I’ve probably experienced it.  Being a foreigner on the water with these kinds of problems can often be a little scary.

Not in Phuket!

Even if I just slow our boat down to stop at a fishing spot you’ll find 3 or 4 boats that are passing by coming closer to “check we are ok”.  It is this kind of seamanship and community spirit that has allowed our company here at 5 Star Marine to prosper.

So now I believe that I, my team, and our entire 5 Star Marine company have an obligation to lift up the community, the very same community that helped lift us up.  We have been successful, we are a well-respected company and we now want to use our success to help the local people “Stand Up And Fight”.

This time is temporary and if I know that my company, my team, or our donation program can in any way help even just 1 person to fight through this hard time, to feel hope, to have faith that “this too shall pass” then this entire donation program is well worth.

To help our fellow man is the greatest service we can give and I am honored every day to be joined by our volunteers, to be joined by our staff, and to be joined by our friends in delivering Life Bags and support to communities in need.

Why You Should Support Local Businesses During Covid 19 Pandemic

 

During this difficult time of the COVID, 19 Pandemic as many as 70% of tourism businesses have not been able to re-open here in Phuket.  Whether that is from a lack of customers, financial problems, or staffing problems it doesn’t matter, what matters is that this means a lot of people are without work.

As a responsible company that is invested in the local community, as you can see from our regular donations, we also choose to support local businesses by spending at local restaurants, booking local staycations, and supporting businesses that have been supporting local people.

This is something we promote heavily on our social media as we strongly believe that the only path for tourism here in Phuket is through Domestic Tourism until at least the end of 2021.  While the government has started to let in long-stay tourism the number of tourist arrivals is just not enough to sustain the local economy.

So we encourage you, if you can, to spend local, stay local and support local businesses.  Also, pay special attention to those local businesses that are investing in keeping the community going.

Businesses like ours here at 5 Star Marine that are offering significantly discounted COVID Rate trips, businesses like ours that are making regular community donations, and businesses like ours that are taking the time to promote and help other local businesses.

Stay Local, Support Local and You’ll Discover Places You Never Knew Existed!

5 Star Marine Helping The Local Community During Covid 19 Pandemic

If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram you’d notice that the team at 5 Star Marine are working closely with the local community to help get support to those who need it.

Over the last few weeks, we have been donating rice, water, chicken, beef, and more to communities that have been significantly affected by the Covid 19 pandemic.  To understand Phuket is a tourism town.  When our government made the decision to lock our borders almost all of the people of Phuket were out of work.

This led to a lot of people running out of money and food.  Seeing this need our team snapped into action and started organizing food and supplies for families that needed it.  Through our work, over the last few weeks, we have donated over 4000 Kilograms of Rice, over 3000 bottles of water, more than 200 Kilograms of Chicken and so much beef we lost count.

All these donations have been financed by the team behind 5 Star Marine.  We have not sought donations from our customers we have worked with our team and the team from Sutai Muay Thai to put these donations together directly.

We don’t write this to hope for praise, what we hope for is your support.

Support The Businesses That Support The Community With Your Custom!

When travel restrictions are lifted, and they will be lifted, we hope that those of you who do choose to travel to Phuket that you choose to support businesses like ours that helped out in the time of need.

Don’t get me wrong, we are not the only business helping, there are restaurants, dive shops, hotels, and more helping out.  What we hope to see is that you choose to eat at those restaurants, dive with those dive shops, stay at those hotels and go on private boats with companies that are helping.

These are the companies that are working with heart during these hard times and we should reward those companies with our custom.  Just like we plan to.  When we can we will visit these restaurants, eat there and we will repay there kindness with the thing that counts to them, customers.