Susan Lynch, West Marine

Nathalie Walker photo

In keeping with its mission to help preserve the marine environment, boating and fishing supplies retailer West Marine hosts Cruising for a Cause Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. at its new flagship store on Nimitz Highway to celebrate its grand opening. Event proceeds benefit various ocean-based nonprofits, including M’Ocean Therapy, Marimed Foundation, Hawaii Sailing Foundation, Pacific Islands Fishery Group, Polynesian Voyaging Society and the Waianae Youth Sailing Program/Sea Scout Ship Kaveha Pono.

“When West Marine opens a flagship store, the first day of the (grand opening) event is to give back to our community,” explains West Marine general manager Susan Lynch, who has had an integral role in planning the event, along with employee Suzanne Boatman. “What Cruising for a Cause does is it offers an opportunity for nonprofits in the Hawaii marine and boating community to raise funds for their programs … That’s part of our mission, that by working together we can help create a sustainable future for our planet,” Lynch explains. “And part of that is assisting the communities where we live and work.”

The event kicks off with a traditional Hawaiian blessing and a proclamation. The event also will include live music, entertainment, an auction featuring work by Gyotaku artist Naoki Hayashi, food from Murphy’s Bar and Grill and wine donated by Barefoot Wine. The participating nonprofits also will have educational booths and activities.

In addition to Cruising for a Cause, West Marine’s grand opening celebration starts Thursday morning and continues through Sunday. Festivities include a display of boats from local dealers, boating electronic demonstrations, keiki activities, free refreshments and giveaways.

West Marine’s work to serve the environment extends far beyond this event. The company has donated more than $4.7 million to resource conservation, rehabilitation of marine habitats, as well as growth in the boating community.

“We also try to offer products that don’t harm the environment,” Lynch adds. West Marine has a number of internal initiatives that stress sustainability in its retail stores, including reducing paper, water and electrical usage, and minimizing waste.

“We want to make sure that we have an environment that we all can enjoy in the future,” Lynch says.

Tickets for Cruising for a Cause can be purchased for $10 through any of the participating nonprofits; all proceeds benefit the organization. Or, starting Thursday, tickets can be purchased at West Marine; proceeds from these sales will be divided among the organizations. West Marine is located 420 N. Nimitz Hwy.

For more information, call West Marine at 526-4420.