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Maritime Flea Market

Spring is almost here; that’s when many of us get the itch to do some spring cleaning. And if you’re a boat owner, you might need to do some of that to get your vessel ready to enjoy the season. Get rid of boat supplies you don’t need; make a list of things you need to add.

And we have just the venue for you boaters to do just that – the Third Annual Marine Flea Market coming up April 4 at the Yacht Basin in Southport. Sponsored by the Southport Yacht Club (SYC), the Marine Flea Market will connect boaters with others who want to buy or sell their stuff. Anyone can participate as a seller; each space is just $25, with the fee going to charity. This year’s charity is the Oak Island Water Rescue team.

And if you don’t need boat supplies, there will be other vendors selling nautical products and crafts that you need to come and check out. There will even be a raffle for gift certificates donated by Mr. P’s, Oliver’s and Loco Jo’s. The event runs from 8 am to 4 pm – with great food and entertainment to make it a fun day.

Chris Webster, commodore for the Southport Yacht Club, describes how the event began. “Several years ago, we came up with the idea,” he says. “We realized we all have a lot of stuff on our boats that we probably don’t need. I looked it up and there’s this flea market in Florida that’s enormous – a football field full of people. So we moved forward. We decided to do it right in front of where many of us have our boats – at the Southport Marina. And a big thanks to the Marina; they allowed us to have it there for the first two years.”

“That first year we had maybe 19 spaces with vendors. We were able to come up with $350 to donate to local charities. We decided to do it again!” He says. “Last year we had over 40 vendors and we selected Childswish to receive the proceeds. We came up with $1500 to donate to them. That’s a good trend!”

Norm Brown, leader of the SYC team planning the event this year, plans to continue that trend. “We’ll be in the Yacht Basin this year, which allows us to offer 120 spaces for sellers, each 14’ x 14’,” he explains. “We hope to have 45 retail vendors and the rest for boaters who want to sell their stuff.”

SYC team member Cliff Lill reiterated that point. “It’s all about being a flea market for boaters, and also raising as much as we can for charity,” he says. “We chose Oak Island Water Rescue (OIWR) for the charity this year – we wanted to go with a local, marine related organization.”

A good choice. Tony Young, OIWR chief, describes his group’s work. “The Oak Island Fire Department saw a need and started the team as a separate organization 22 years ago,” he says. “The Coast Guard donated two boats – that we still have – and the town donated a boat as well. Today we have three boats and three trucks. We have a 10’ Zodiac inflatable boat that we launch in the surf, just drag it out there. We also have a larger 14’ Zodiac with a bigger outboard in case we have to make a long run in the waterway, ocean or inlets. Occasionally a boat will ground on Jaybird Shoals and we can go out there and pull them off.

“When people call 911, the central command will contact us if we need to be involved. We have the same radios that the police and fire department carry; we’re on the fire department channel, they go to all our calls because they’re also paramedics.

“In the last two years we’ve had 50 plus call-outs; six of which were what we call ‘saves,’ because if we didn’t show up someone would be seriously injured or worse. We’re on call 24/7; with 20 members we always have someone available to answer the call.”

Young goes on to describe their financial needs. “We really need to replace our Zodiacs – they’re old; they’re patched up so we can keep them floating,” he explains. “The surf boat gets beat up a lot. That boat gets turned over sometimes; it always gets pulled up on the beach. For a new trailer and boat, we think we can get one for around $12,000. It needs to be the best quality because of the wear and tear it takes.

“The third boat is a 14’ aluminum Jon boat that we can take into the marsh if necessary to help with kayakers. Long term I’d like to replace that with a hovercraft, which will cost around $60,000. We’re hoping to apply for a grant to help us acquire that boat.”

No doubt the Oak Island Water Rescue team deserves our community’s support. If you’d like to be a part of the Market, reserve a space to sell your stuff by contacting Norm Brown at You can also simply donate boating supplies to the donation table; contact Norm if you have something to donate.

For the whole community, this free event is not to be missed! Be sure to come out to the Marine Flea Market on April 4, rain or shine, and check out the boating supplies and nautical products, buy raffle tickets and enjoy the food and entertainment! It’s a fact; everyone loves a good flea market – it’s always where you make interesting finds. And maybe at this one you’ll bump into some of your neighbors hawking their boat stuff.

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