Captains Turn Discarded Radar Domes Into Shelters for Stray Dogs

21 May 2024 By Holly Overton

Holly is the editor of Dockwalk. She grew up racing sailboats in England before switching to the world of superyachts and moving across the pond to Fort Lauderdale.

A group of captains has found a novel use for discarded radar domes, transforming them into shelters for stray dogs in The Bahamas, known locally as Potcakes. 

The initiative began in a Starlink Worldwide captains' WhatsApp chat, where yachts that had recently switched to Starlink for internet were left with domes, and captains were offering them up for free to anyone willing to collect them. This sparked a unique idea for Captain Eli Hale of M/Y Pampa III.

Eli initially envisioned using the domes as "lobster cabanas," but their size was impractical. It was Captain Barry Flanigan who suggested they could be repurposed as shelters for strays. This idea struck a chord, as Eli's wife, Rachel Hale, who is actively involved with the Bahamas Humane Society, a no-kill shelter that cares for over 600 animals, including more than 300 Potcakes.

Eli announced his plan to transform the domes into Potcake igloos in the WhatsApp chat. Captain Phillip Frost of M/Y H offered his crew's help, and soon, Eli had a couple of large domes ready to be converted in his backyard.

The crew of M/Y H removing old radar domes

Although Eli envisioned grand designs with solar-powered fans and patios, a looming storm prompted immediate action. "There was a big storm forecasted to hit Nassau," Rachel Hale explains, so they cut entranceways into the domes for shelter ahead of the impending deluge. "He [Eli] reluctantly agreed to put the lofty upgrades on hold for the next round and keep the first dome homes simple."

The project has since gained traction with more discarded domes being collected and additional enhancements planned, like ventilation holes. Local captains like Rachel Staddon are also contributing by volunteering at the Bahamas Humane Society, walking dogs, and fostering them.

Captain Eli Hale of M/Y Pampa III cutting holes in the domes

The initiative is a wonderful example of community spirit and initiative, proving that innovative solutions can come from the most unexpected places. 

To get involved, contact the Bahamas Humane Society at 242-323-5138 or the Facebook group @AnimalLoversofNassau.


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