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Fire at Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures


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Our summer has taken an unexpected turn of events due to an unforgettable fire. On Friday, June 29th, at 4:00 am we received the call that no business owner wants to hear, “Your building is on fire.” When we arrived, the Westport, Dartmouth, and Tiverton Fire Departments were already at work, putting out the flames and saving our little building. They managed to extinguish the fire in thirty minutes, and as a result of their excellent work, the building is still standing. We extend our sincere thanks to these fire departments for their unabashed skill and determination.

As the day unfolded, and the flames subsided, we were informed that the fire was in fact an act of arson. The fire started in the porta-potty and spread quickly to the building and the boat racks behind it. Unfortunately, the flames claimed fifty-two boats, thereby devastating almost our entire fleet. We were crushed and overwhelmed, but soon after we began to clean out the building and sort through the rubble, friends and neighbors arrived to lend a hand. A special thanks goes out to the building’s owners, Beth Mercer and Paul Izyk, and to our neighbors at the Head of the Westport, especially Quentin and Sasha Sullivan. Others quickly arrived to help with vehicles, food, pastries, and labor, including Polly and Jeremy Allen and their crew, Keith and Susan Igler from Starfish Bakery, Jim Labelle from Village Bicycle, and the many other friends and generous passersby that helped us over the initial devastation of the fire.

As we surveyed the damage, and discussed how to proceed, we decided to continue as planned with a twenty person wedding party tour on Sunday July 1st. It was an ambitious venture, but due to the generosity of Peter Casson and Alex Landrum from EMS’s paddling school, who lent us enough boats and gear to run the trip, and the additional boats, gear, and energy from Bob Clarke and Deb Millar, Mimi Whitmarsh, Don Forest, and many other paddlers at large, the tour went off without a hitch.

Now, as we are heading toward the next stage of rebuilding, we are faced with some new challenges and obstacles, but with the help of many friends it is a seemingly more manageable endeavor. We would especially like to thank, Tom Baney from Waterway Sports, Jim Hager from P+H/Pyrahna, Vaughn Smith and Shelly Johnson from Powerface, Suz Hutchinson from P+H and Kokatat, Mike Simpson from Astral and Liquid Logic, Matt Bingham, The Westport River Watershed Alliance, and the many others who have pledged their help.

Despite this incredible loss, our programs will continue to the best of our abilities, and our rental shop is now open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm. We also have some exciting upcoming programs, including Greenlandic Comprehensive- greenland style paddling and rolling with guest instructors Cheri Perri and Turner Wilson, and Rock and Roll- paddling and paddle safety in the rocks with guest instructor Omer Singer. Check out our website, www.ospreyseakayakadventures.com for more details. Fortunately, our new P+H boats were unharmed by the fire, so we still have the Cetus, and the Capella 163, 167, 173, and Capella RM 160, and 166, available to demo.

Osprey Sea Kayak has always been like a family, and it has been really inspirational to see how far the family reaches and how much it has grown in the wake of this disaster. So, to all those that have lent their help, and to all that will help us in the future, thank you and paddle on.

Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures, 489 Old County Road, Westport, MA 02790

(508) 636 0300 – WWW.OspreySeaKayak.com

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