KLA’S ocean-minded community on the horizon

The Kauai Lifeguard Association goal in 2017 is to further build an ocean-minded community with its residents, while informing the more than 1 million visitors who frequent our island annually.

It is most important to encourage beachgoers to go to lifeguarded beaches. Last year, over 220,000 personal contacts were made at these towers informing beachgoers of safety and precaution. Half-page print ads that feature each tower, plus radio messages directing people to these beaches, will run all year long. There will be a presentation for the Tower of Power once again this year. Last year the Ke ‘e Beach team received the honor.

There are more than 220 rescue tubes that are serviced along Kauai’s shoreline. This is another important facet of the campaign. Maps and videos and reference in newspaper and radio will familiarize visitors and residents as to how to best use these tubes. Since their inception they have saved hundreds of lives at unguarded beaches.

Creating a new ocean safety video and ocean safety brochure that highlights the same four points of information will provide valuable points of safety. These include where to find lifeguard towers, what to do when caught in a rip current, how to use the rescue tubes and how to use snorkel gear.

There were six drownings in 2016 due to snorkeling. Getting familiar with the equipment and snorkeling with a buddy will be new features in both the brochure and new video. The video is being partnered by the Hawaii Lodging and Hotel Association, Kauai Visitors Bureau and the East Kauai Rotary Club.

The video will be available to any hotel or resort that wishes to air it through their in-house video system. It will also run continuously at the airport luggage areas, and on local television. A concerted effort to get a video of similar content to air before or after the invasive species video on airplanes arriving in Hawaii will also be made.

Timeshare briefings take place daily around our island. Dickie Chang will be overseeing morning briefings that can include our lifeguards speaking for five minutes on ocean safety to visitors in attendance. This face-to-face approach is a prevention measure. It is being supported by Koloa Rum and a variety of participating restaurants that include Kukui’s at the Kauai Marriott, Tiki Iniki in Princeville and Hukilau Lanai in Waipouli. A fourth restaurant on the South Shore is currently sought. These messages will communicate the various facets of our brochure and video face to face.

The Keiki and Junior Lifeguard Program is an example as to how Kauai excels. The 12 consecutive state championships and national competition inspired other islands to step up and compete with what Kauai has accomplished.

Our program, which is the most successful in the state, has created an ocean awareness level with parents and their children across the 50th state. Kauai can now accommodate more than 500 participants in the keiki and junior age groups at no charge each summer.

Captain Andy’s boat charters is a key donor to this years campaign. Additional support is needed for our program to succeed. The Kauai Marriott will again present a Percy Kinimaka Award of Aloha to the Junior Lifeguard of the year. Sponsorship of training sessions and travel costs are available.

Three roving patrols can now be seen at unguarded beaches daily. Understanding the beaches and their conditions now goes beyond that of just our lifeguard towers. The roving patrol will be featured in media throughout the year as another support for beach activities. Sponsors tied into this service in one region or another is an option businesses and donors have.

The Ocean Safety Trailer is a service provided by the Ocean Safety Bureau. It serves as a movable storage facility for junior guard training during the summer. Its colorful design and graphics as well as having video capability make it an attraction on display at the county fair, parades, festivals, shopping centers and schools. The trailer takes ocean safety directly into the community and its service and upkeep needs support from one interested sponsor.

Supporters of these efforts will be invited to attend a festive mahalo beach party on Kalapaki complete with a food feast, live music, prizes and displays in May. Tax deductible donations can be made at Kauailifeguards.org, thru pay pal, or by reaching Andy Melamed at (808) 482-0218 and andymelamed946@gmail.com

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Andy Melamed is marketing and event director for KLA.

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