Helio Foundation Helping Fishermen Float their Boats

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The Helio Foundation is the definition of outreach. They have proved over and over to truly care for residents and are doing everything possible to lend a helping hand. The Float the Boat Program is helping fishermen in Terrebonne Parish gain their livelihoods back and they are going full force with the initiative.



The Float the Boat Program is currently focusing on Terrebonne Parish and will expand to other parishes if funds will allow. Helio Foundation President, Jonathan Foret, said the program is a reimbursement program for boat owners for the cost of getting their boats out of the water or getting them back into the water. The foundation doesn’t coordinate or contact the salvage company, it’s the boat owner’s responsibility, simply because Foret said it gives them a chance to choose someone the owners’ trust. From there, The Helio Foundation reimburses the boat owners, to a reasonable amount, once the invoices and photos of the boat are provided. Foret said the amounts vary depending on the size of the vessel, some range between $3,000-$5,000, and the bigger boats may go up to $8,000. 

Foret said they have helped six fishermen get their boats back floating. The challenge has been to find a salvage company to assist the larger boats. Initially, the foundation was going to try to contract with a company, but every situation is so different that different companies have different resources and equipment that are necessary to help the different situations. It was because of this, it made more sense to the foundation to allow the boat owners to contract someone they trusted to get their boats out. 

© Helio Foundation

Another issue they are finding is because there is such a great need for the services that there is a long wait time. Foret said it’s just like people are having to wait for general contractors to get to residents’ homes, it takes a while because there is such a large need for assistance.



The biggest reward is to see the reactions of fishermen that can get their boats floating again. Foret said they are very excited, “I mean this is their livelihoods, “he said, “getting their boats back floating will enable them to be able to start working again.” The foundation is also looking to help residents with helping crabs get their traps back, helping get trawlers replaced in some rigging that may have been destroyed so that folks can start working again with the tools they need. These services, just like the Float the Boat program, work on a reimbursement basis. If fishermen need their traps, and they are ordering more traps to be made, the foundation can reimburse them as long as receipts and invoices are provided.

© Helio Foundation

To contact the foundation to inquire for assistance, visit them on Facebook, and reach out via Facebook messenger. Foret said fishermen can reach out directly to the Helio Foundation or Rougarou Fest since the Wetlands Discovery Center, which produces Rougarou Fest, is parenting together for these services.