LIHUE — The Kauai Lifeguard Association works in conjunction with the Kauai Fire Department’s Ocean Safety Bureau to help save lives at guarded and unguarded beaches. Over the past five years the number of beach-goers has more than doubled, yet the number of drownings has basically remained in check.
In 2018 the KLA 5th Wave campaign will focus on island lifeguards, their training, their daily routines and heroic actions at towers, and while roving and during rescues.
The ocean-minded campaign will be “Kauai’s Lifeguards — Guards for Life” — and it will reinforce safety at the beaches, education and programs to benefit the community.
It all takes funding from a variety of sources, and those monies raised through the 5th Wave Celebration event will help to do so. The celebration will be part of a weekend of activities along Kalapaki Beach July 26 through July 28, that includes the annual Statewide Ocean Safety and Drowning Prevention Conference, the Statewide Junior Lifeguard State Championships and the KLA 5th Wave Celebration.
The celebration will be held July 27 in the Kauai Marriott Resort &Beach Club ballroom from 5 to 9:30 p.m., complete with headlining stars, an award-winning buffet, live auction, prize drawings, fun, games and award presentations.
In 2017 lifeguards have been extremely busy. Over the past 10 months there have been 248 lifesaving rescues, 123,260 preventative actions, over 5,600 first aid activities and 186,000 public contacts at the 10 towers alone.
The success of Roving Patrol units accounts for an additional 44 rescues, over 12,000 preventative actions and 23,000 public contacts. There have been seven drownings in 2017, and with high-surf season and visitor counts about to reach capacity, safety issues should be considered daily and hourly by relying on guards at the 10 towers around the island.
In all there have been close to 2,300,000 beach attendees counted in 10 months on beaches lifeguards oversee, illustrating the fact that they are guards for life.
Key beaches to avoid during this time of year due to currents and rapidly changing conditions include Lumahai, Queen’s Bath, Larsen’s (Kaakaaniu), Polihale, Secret Beach (Kauapea) and Hanakapiai.
In 2018, Chantal Zarbaugh will serve as the KLA marketing and event director, taking over the reins from Andy Melamed, who incepted the wave events and media blitzes that tied sponsors into the Ocean Safety Bureau’s goals and needs. He had been doing such for the past six years.
Zarbaugh will be heading up this year’s event and coordinating sponsorships. Melamed recommended her to the board because of her natural interest in the area of expertise. Her brother and husband are both lifeguards, she has served on a promotional level with the Kauai Chamber of Commerce and Kukui Grove Center and is currently a sales and account manager with the Kong Radio Group.
“I feel quite comfortable in seeing Chantal work with KLA on these goals and details,” Melamed said. “She is plugged in daily with the business community through Kong radio and her work with KLA and its sponsors complements her daily activities. The attention to detail as a volunteer during our past events has been incredible.”
Some of the ocean-minded campaign programs that sponsors can support include lifeguard tower sponsorship, Keiki and Junior Lifeguard program, roving patrol sponsorship, ocean trailer sponsorship, rescue tube sponsorship, Beach Guide and Safety Brochure sponsorship, safety video sponsorship, entertainment sponsor for celebration, KLA grand prize sponsor for celebration, KLA Mayor’s Auction, and 5th Wave Celebration title sponsor.
Media mixes for 2018 will once again include a solid partnership with The Garden Island newspaper, Kong Radio Group, Wala‘au TV, and website and Facebook coordination thanks to Blue Guava Web Designs.