Surfrider Kaua‘i launches ‘Ocean Friendly Visitor’ outreach program

  • Surfrider Kaua‘i / Contributed photo

    Volunteers can participate in solo or family beach cleanups.

  • Surfrider Kaua‘i / Contributed photo

    Beach cleans ups assist in the protection of all marine life.

KAPA‘A — Surfrider Foundation’s Kaua‘i Chapter is excited to announce the launch of its new Ocean Friendly Visitors (OFV) outreach program. The program has been created to help visitors protect the fragile health of Kaua‘i’s oceans, reefs and beaches.

“While it’s difficult to find any good from the pandemic shutdowns here on Kaua‘i, one silver lining has been that our beaches, ocean and reefs have had some time to recover from the 2018 floods, Hurricane Lane that same year, and over-tourism,” said Dr. Carl Berg, Ph.D., who serves as Surfrider Kaua‘i’s ecologist. “Now, tourism is returning to Kaua‘i, and we are excited to launch this program to help visitors enjoy our island while also participating in protecting what everyone loves – our beautiful beaches, blue ocean, unique marine life and our coral reefs.”

The basic concepts of “How to Be an Ocean Friendly Visitor” are:

• Help Keep Our Beaches Clean and Beautiful: Encouraging solo and family beach cleanups; education on proper disposal of trash

• Minimize Plastics: Using reusable water bottles and bags to minimize plastics that are poisoning oceans and littering shores

• Protect Our Reefs: Promoting reef friendly sunscreen; snorkeling “do’s and don’ts”

• Protect Marine Life: Admiring our Hawaiian seals and turtles from afar to not interfere with their rest and feeding

• Practice Covid Etiquette: Using and properly disposing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); promotion of reusable PPE

• Dine Responsibly: Supporting Ocean Friendly Restaurants and avoiding single-use plastic foodware whenever possible

“Visitors to Kaua‘i do not generally come here for night life and commercial entertainment – they come to enjoy the natural beauty of the garden island. Our once pristine beaches, reefs abundant with sea life, and our healthy ocean have been compromised, in part, by over-tourism,” said Cynthia Welti, Surfrider Kaua‘i Chapter Chair. “We believe that visitors will be very appreciative of learning ways in which they can take actions to protect this beautiful island through the Ocean Friendly Visitor program.”

“We hope that visitors who participate in this program leave with a sense of what is called ‘malama i ke kai, a malama ke kai ia ‘oe,’ which means ‘care for the ocean and the ocean will care for you,’” Welti said.

The Ocean Friendly Visitors program will be launched directly via Surfrider Kauai’s social media network and member outreach. Surfrider Kauai will also work with vacation rental management companies and hotels to include OFV information in confirmation and welcome packets, as well as to organize OFV activities — such as beach cleanups — for their visitors.

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