Blessing ceremony for new rescue boat

LIHUE — The Kauai Fire Department held a blessing ceremony last Thursday at the Kapaa fire station for its new rescue boat.

The 19-foot Boston Whaler joins Radon 1, the department’s existing rescue boat. However, this boat will primarily be utilized for emergency response in the Kapaa District, namely Wailua River, where the Radon has limited access.

The new vessel will be particularly helpful during rescue missions in the remote portions of the Wailua River, such as Uluwehi Falls, a popular kayaking and hiking destination that is prone to flash flooding during Kauai’s rainy season.

The boat was aptly named Koholalele, meaning leaping whale, after a waterfall in the Wailua River Valley.  Koholalele is also the name of an easterly wind that is apparent during the winter months, which coincides with Hawaii’s whale season.

The purchase of the boat was made possible by the Assistance to Firefighters Grant, a federal emergency management agency program, which contributed 80 percent of the boat’s total cost of $97,419.

A team of firefighters began the grant application process in September 2011, and the department was awarded the grant funding in March of 2012.

“The purchase of Koholalele is a testament to the dedication of our team,” stated Deputy Fire Chief John Blalock.

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