DONATEEmergency Disaster Relief Fund

Helping fishing guides help Southwest Florida heal

DONATEEmergency Disaster
Relief Fund

Helping fishing guides help Southwest Florida heal

Hurricane Ian made landfall on September 28th as a category four hurricane causing catastrophic devastation to Southwest Florida. The health of Florida’s water directly depends on healthy residents, businesses, and communities to advocate and achieve progress, so we are committed to supporting them on the long road to recovery.

Captains For Clean Water established an emergency disaster relief fund to support long-term relief and recovery efforts for Southwest Florida’s people and communities impacted by Hurricane Ian. Please donate and make a difference! 100% of funds go toward community relief efforts, 0% goes toward administrative costs or Captains For Clean Water operations.

Fishing guides and charter captains can learn more, click “GUIDES APPLY HERE” below.


Make a contribution today to support ongoing community recovery efforts.


Getting guides and captains back to work serving the community.

In the storm’s aftermath, there’s no shortage of work to be done and people who need relief. With the collapse of the island tourism infrastructure, SWFL fishing guides and charter captains are a willing and able workforce ready to use their skills and unique abilities to serve our devastated communities.

Funds are used to employ fishing guides for available and necessary services that benefit SWFL’s healing and recovery, including:

Debris Cleanups

Removing debris from waterways, mangroves, and beaches.

First Responder Charters

Fishing charters to support mental wellness for Hurricane Ian first responders.

Water Quality Research

Support universities and organizations with water quality research, monitoring, and testing.


Our initial emergency response to Hurricane Ian revealed an urgent need to support the charter captains who were severely impacted by the storm. Over 2,000 licensed captains reside in the declared disaster area. We surveyed over 240 boat captains revealing:

  • 20% have homes that are uninhabitable
  • 35% have homes that are habitable, but have significant damages
  • 97% lost business due to the hurricane
  • 83% still have an operable vessel
  • $44,071 average total cost to guide’s business Sept. through Dec. (physical and economic damage) that will not be covered by insurance

The captains rely on the local tourism industry for business and currently 55% of hotel rooms in Lee County are out of service. Barrier island resorts, restaurants and other small businesses suffered catastrophic damages and have a long road to recovery.

Captains For Clean Water is committed to helping guides help the community. Since the storm, we’ve created work opportunities for captains to help with cleanup, transportation to the islands, and scientific research, and this fund allows us to significantly scale this effort to further serve the impacted community.


Click topic to read more.
Grants for Guides

Through the Emergency Disaster Relief Fund, we are offering grant opportunities to captains who have lost everything and are unable to work. This includes an application and approval process and is only offered to guides who meet certain qualifying criteria.

Advocacy Support for the Business Community

The devastation caused by Hurricane Ian has provided unprecedented challenges for our business community in SWFL. Our barrier island business community is the core of the islands’ culture, an anchor for the charter fishing industry, and a key ally in our fight for clean water. Without their support, our fight for Everglades restoration would be even more challenging. Our CFCW team has been working tirelessly with local chambers of commerce, amplifying their voices for state and federal support to rebuild quickly by creating powerful advocacy campaigns and videos as part of larger governmental strategies we are helping them develop. This is funded out of our general operations budget separate from our Emergency Disaster Relief Fund.

Advocacy Support for the Fishing Industry

In October 2022, Captains For Clean Water conducted a Hurricane Ian Damage Assessment Survey for Licensed Charter Captains & Fishing Guides in order to estimate economic impacts to the fishing industry. We are presenting this data to local, state, and federal agencies and elected officials to advocate for long-term relief for guides and captains.

Partnerships with Outdoor Companies

We are partnering with outdoor brands to coordinate getting donated products to captains and their families. We have a large facility at our office which has distributed new clothing and gear donated by AFTCO, Columbia, Costa, Grundens, Huk, Olukai, Pelagic Gear, YETI and many other brands to over 300 captains and their families. Many companies have also provided discounts to captains in addition to donated goods.

Emergency Relief Response – Our efforts in the aftermath

Within hours of the storm, Captains For Clean Water team members and fellow fishing guides rushed into the impacted areas to help people in need. We continued to organize and provide emergency relief in the weeks following Hurricane Ian. The Emergency Disaster Relief Fund made these emergency efforts possible.

  • Conducting search and rescue missions
  • Communicating with government agencies to direct assets and support
  • Setting up drop sites for critical supplies
  • Delivering food, water, fuel, supplies
  • Clearing debris
  • Establishing a guide transportation program to facilitate transport to the islands
  • Dispatching volunteer crews to clean out flooded homes