Rescue Tubes to the rescue — again

You’ve heard stories like this one before. Someone gets in trouble in the water, another person springs into action to save them. Who doesn’t like to hear about a hero who swims to the rescue? We do. But this story, like others, might not have ended well without the Rescue Tube Foundation on Kauai. It’s easy to overlook those yellow tubes on the beach — until you need them. The Rescue Tubes are personal flotation devices used to assist distressed swimmers if no lifeguards are around. And there are some beautiful beaches on Kauai that are not protected by lifeguards.

Here’s what happened last week: A man was snorkeling at Larsen’s Beach and got pulled out to deep, open waters. He tried to fight his way back but became exhausted. This is sometimes when a story ends badly. Not this time. The man’s 16-year-old son grabbed the Rescue Tube, swam out to his father and stabilized him. Together, they worked their way back in over the reef, suffering a few bruises and scratches. The wife later said her son couldn’t have saved him without the Rescue Tube

There’s more to this story. The heroic teen knew to use the Rescue Tube because he watched the video about it at the Lihue Airport. When he saw his father in trouble, he looked around, saw the Rescue Tube, grabbed it, strapped it over his shoulder as instructed in the video, swam out and saved his father.

Wow. If you’ve ever wondered if these Rescue Tubes work, if they’re making a difference, if they’re really worth having on beaches around the island, you can stop. Since the first Rescue Tube was installed more than four years ago, about 100 saves have been reported. Without those tubes, we could be talking about people drowning instead of sharing heroic tales.

Sometimes, those responsible for a difficult undertaking are asked if it’s worth it. The answer is often yes, if it affects just one life. We’re talking well beyond affecting one life when it comes to the impact of The Rescue Tube Foundation.

Locals know how dangerous the waters can be. Visitors do not. That’s why we encourage everyone to know where these Rescue Tubes are located and read the instructions for their use. It’s easy for most of us to dismiss any idea we might have to save someone. You can bet that teenager didn’t think he would have to rescue his father during their vacation on Kauai, but he took a few extra minutes to be prepared, just in case.

Good thing.

He made a difference.

He saved a life.

Thank you, Rescue Tube Foundation, for giving him that chance.

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