Water safety panel discussion set

  • File photo

    Junior lifeguards learn about personal watercraft rescues at Kalapaki Beach.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Junior Lifeguard training program participants run along Kalapaki Beach under the watchful eye of a Kauai Fire Department Ocean Safety Bureau lifeguard and program instructor at right, with an OSB rescue craft in the foreground.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file

    A short-boarder gets some air off one of the Ammonia’s breaks during a recent big east swell on Kalapaki Bay.

In five years Kauai has seen the number of beach goers more than double, yet the number of rescues and drownings over that same period has decreased, according to the Kauai Lifeguard Association.

“Yet one life lost or in jeopardy is one too many. Our challenge is dealing with new sets of conditions and weekly flows of people not familiar with our waters,” said Dr. Monty Downs, KLA president.

“Media campaigns, roving patrols, equipment and local programs like our Junior Lifeguard program, which has grown from 75 to 750 participants, all need a steady stream of funds to help save lives,” said Andy Melamed, a KLA member.

“It’s why the KLA has joined forces with the Kauai Marriott Resort &Beach Club and Timbers Resorts to sponsor the Kauai Chamber of Commerce quarterly dinner Thursday, March 14, in the Grand Ballroom of the Kauai Marriott Resort &Beach Club.

Chantal Zarbaugh, KLA marketing consultant, added, “Reaching into our business community to educate and then tap into their resources to build an even stronger Ocean Minded Community will only draw us closer together around our island.”

Chamber President Mark Perriello was pleasantly surprised. “We’ve never had a nonprofit organization approach us to further their goals. The KLA has promoted ocean safety on a consistent basis. They have planned a great way to educate and inform in an entertaining way. We are honored to be part of their overall campaign this year.”

The first quarter dinner features video of Kauai’s lifeguards in training, plus some stunning video of sharks, beaches, sea life and surfing from guest speaker and surfer extraordinaire Mike Coots.

A lively ocean-safety forum moderated by the Kauai Marriott Resort &Beach Club General Manager Paul Toner will include Downs, Coots, Sue Kanoho of the Kauai Visitor Bureau, Kauai Fire Department Ocean Safety Bureau Supervisor Kalani Vierra and County Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro.

There will be a question-and-answer period following the panel discussion.

Kimberly Hope Donohue will entertain from 5:30 p.m. with her electric violin, Kauai Marriott Resort &Beach Club chef Guy Higa’s award-winning buffet will be offered, and prize drawings throughout the night include a grand prize Alaska Airlines trip for two to anywhere they fly, a two-night flyaway with food and accommodations on Maui sponsored by Pacific Media Group and Mokihana Travel, a two-night, oceanfront deluxe suite at the Kauai Marriott Resort &Beach Club as well as an early-bird drawing before the buffet.

Marc Benor of the Westin Princeville Resort will serve as master of ceremonies for the evening illustrating how the community comes together from all sides of the island. “That is what building an Ocean Minded Community is about, as we rally our efforts to serve residents and visitors daily,” said Melamed, who conceptualizes these campaigns. “Working closely with the Ocean Safety Bureau keeps us on track with regards to what is needed, and Chantal Zarbaugh will unveil this year’s KLA Beach Bash set for June 1 at Kalapaki.”

Anyone interested in purchasing tickets to the chamber’s quarterly meeting can go online at kauaichamber.org or call 245-7363. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the public is invited. There is a charge for dinner.

  1. I saw a Vampire once February 25, 2019 11:55 am Reply

    What’s the pay as a life guard? I was wondering how they make a living. I mean, I see the nice cars in the picture. How does a person do this for a living? At the beach all day and checking out anything. Are you actually only interested in the position or job? Or is there something else in there? I don’t know. A hidden value, besides bodies, lust, life, swimming, and fun.

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