LIHUE — A fundraiser to benefit the Kauai Lifeguard Association is set for Oct. 17 at the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort.
The “KLA Third Wave Ocean Safety Celebration” is being organized by Andy Melamed, general sales manager for KQNG Radio. It will feature musicians Titus Kinimaka and Shilo Pa, plus surprise guests followed by Makana, Amy Hanaialii Gilliom and Hawaii’s Roughriders featuring Henry Kapono, John Cruz and Brother Noland.
A buffet dinner as well as live and silent auctions will take place throughout the evening with special auctioneer appearances by Ron Wiley, Tom Moffat and Augie T.
“As in years past, this fundraising celebration is a great opportunity for businesses and individuals to support KLA’s goals through tax-deductible donations that directly benefit our lifeguards’ immediate needs, while enjoying a night of great food and great entertainment,” Melamed said.
The goal is to enhance ocean safety, as more than 1.6 million people visit Kauai’s 10 lifeguarded beaches each year. Nearly 1,000 lifesaving rescues and countless interactions with beachgoers help prevent drownings annually.
“It was just a few short years ago Kauai led the nation in the number of drownings per capita,” said Dr. Monty Downs, KLA president. “Communication has been a key point for prevention, because one additional life lost is one too many.”
Funds raised from the First and Second Wave celebrations helped to provide Jet Skis, ATVs, rescue tubes, public service announcements on television and radio, ocean safety videos at the airport and hotels, and ocean safety brochures distributed islandwide.
Because 70 percent of Kauai’s drownings occur within the visitor population, ocean safety education and awareness to the visitor population is a continuous challenge, said Kalani Vierra, director of Kauai Ocean Safety Bureau.
“Our guards need to communicate to the masses onsite at the beach, at the shoreline and in the water,” he said.
Funds raised during the third annual ocean safety campaign will go toward improving onsite communication for Kauai’s lifeguards. Battery powered P.A. systems for towers, as well as high-powered megaphones for ATVs, will allow the lifeguards to communicate effectively as rip tides and ocean conditions change, Melamed said.
KLA will also use the fundraiser to expand ocean safety education and training and send the KLA Keiki and Junior Lifeguard team to Huntington Beach, Calif., in 2016 to represent Kauai and compete for a national title.
“Our goal is to have a community of ocean-minded ocean safety residents, and well-informed visitors that will enjoy any given day at the beach regardless of the conditions,” Vierra said.
Melamed, who is retiring at the end of this year, said this Third Wave is his last.
“That can be my swan song,” he said.
Tables for the Third Wave Ocean Safety Celebration are available by contacting Melamed at 482-0218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.