The US healthcare community has made a direct appeal to marine manufacturers to help them in a desperate need for personal protective equipment (PPE), according to a letter from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) to its members.

In the letter dated 24 March and obtained today by IBI, Member Services Director Bryan Welsh explained NMMA was contacted by “several members of the healthcare community about the dire need of medical supplies.

“Because our industry is uniquely American made — coupled with the types of equipment and materials marine manufacturers use — we are positioned to help the medical community more than most. To that end, can you donate personal protection equipment to medical centres in your community [or] adapt manufacturing capabilities to produce masks and other critical protective equipment?” Welsh requested.

Specifically, the medical community worldwide is in need of: Face, Eye and Head Protection; Gloves, Booties, Hand and Arm Protection; Protective Apparel; Eye Wash Solutions; Hand Hygiene and Skin Care and Breathing Masks and Respiratory Protection.

Sources both inside the NMMA and its membership confirm to IBI that a conference call is scheduled for later today to both identify the surplus PPE resources as well as potential manufacturing capability, and to set in place a plan for utilising those resources. There are still, sources indicate, a number of unanswered questions concerning regulatory and financial hurdles that might need to be cleared, but the process has begun.

Many yachting and boating companies shut down around the world as a result of the pandemic have already begun donating PPE to local healthcare providers.