Muskegon-made kayaks will aid in Harvey relief

KL Outdoor partners with Walmart to help with storm rescue and relief effort

Harvey, KL Outdoor, Muskegon
KL Outdoor in Muskegon prepares to ship thousands of kayaks to the Gulf Coast in the wake of Harvey. (Aug. 28, 2017)

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — A Muskegon company is shipping about 2,000 kayaks to Texas and Louisiana to be used in the hurricane rescue and relief efforts.

KL Outdoor is the largest kayak manufacturer in the world and distributes to stores across the nation.

Last week, Walmart’s disaster response team called the company up as Harvey was swirling toward the States.

“They said, ‘Look, we’re interested in shipping a couple thousand boats down into Louisiana and Texas. Can you guys help us out?” KL Outdoor CEO Chuck Smith told 24 Hour News 8 Monday.

Walmart is buying the kayaks and will sell or donate them in areas hit hard by the storm, Smith said. KL Outdoor is covering the costs to get them there.

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The kayaks will be in high demand as rooftops have turned into rescue points and roads have turned into rivers in Houston and other flooded cities. The primary mode of transportation is by water.

“Unfortunately, many of our customers are put in the situation where they’re having to really struggle for their livelihoods,” Smith said. “And it’s nice just to play a part and get them around a little easier or help in the rescue effort.”

The company will also have a role in the relief effort once floodwaters recede. KL Outdoor makes portable toilets, which Smith said the Federal Emergency Management Agency will buy and set up in neighborhoods after the storm.

Smith told 24 Hour News 8 it’s a ‘good feeling’ to play a small part in the nationwide effort to help those suffering.

“I think you’re seeing the best in our country when we have these situations like what’s occurring now in Texas,” Smith said. “It lets you know that if you ever got put in that situation, the other folks around the country would step up and help you.”

KL Outdoor started shipping the kayaks on Monday and expects to have all of them on trucks heading south by Tuesday.