Coast Guard open house, Sea Scout tour help launch Safe Boating Week

LIHU‘E — The public is invited to an open house at the Coast Guard Station Kaua‘i, Saturday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in Nawiliwili.

The open house is just a part of the Kaua‘i Safe Boating Day event being held at the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor to help launch the observance of Safe Boating Week, which runs May 21 through 27, on Kaua‘i.

At the same time, Rear Commodore (Ret.) Jim Jung of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary will be available at the Kukui Grove Center with free boating safety literature and water safety activity books for children, as well as being available to answer questions about safe boating and water safety.

As the vice president of the Kaua‘i Lifeguard Association, Jung will also be promoting the Junior Lifeguard program on Kaua‘i, as well as the Rescue Tube Project. He will also have free Kaua‘i Safe Beach Guides available.

The Kaua‘i Safe Boating Day event at the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor will have USCG Auxiliary members providing free vessel safety checks, as well as hosting public education displays, informational pamphlets, posters and stickers for the children.

During the open house hosted by the CG Station Kaua‘i, people are able to tour some of the Coast Guard boats, as well as learn more about the many missions of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Tours of the Sea Scout Ship Decisive and life jacket demonstrations will be provided by the Sea Scout program under the direction of Larry Richardson.

The Surfrider Foundation Kaua‘i Chapter will have information and public education about Kaua‘i’s ocean environment, including pamphlets, posters, stickers and more items for children.

Recreational boating is fun and enjoyable and the waters of Hawai‘i provide some of the most exciting and beautiful ocean recreational opportunities in the world, states a proclamation issued by Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. to launch the observance.

However, to the unprepared, boating can be a risky sport if the participant has no knowledge, skills or conforming to the Navigation Rules, or the nautical “Rules of the Road.” Other behaviors contributing to the risk include drinking alcohol or taking drugs while operating a boat, or not choosing to wear a life jacket.

If people are aware of the risk, they are more likely to take precautionary measures to protect themselves, their family and friends, Jung said. The vast majority of boating-related tragedies can be attributed to human error or vessel operators not being properly trained in safe boat handling and the lack of proper safety equipment aboard each vessel, states the proclamation.

A life jacket can be the determining factor between life and death in many boating accidents each year. An average 700 people die in boating related accidents with eight out of 10 victims were not wearing life jackets.

The USCG Auxiliary offers free information on safe boating practices and on the equipment boaters are required to have on their vessels. Throughout the year, USCG Auxiliary members conduct free vessel safety inspections, distribute literature to promote safe boating, educate boat operators with safe boating courses and train for search and rescue missions to help keep Kaua‘i’s ocean waters safe.

Jung encourages all boaters to wear a life jacket and practice safe boating habits not only during Safe Boating Week, but always.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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