Volunteers learn to airlift marine debris

  • Contributed by Surfrider Kaua‘i

    From left, Surfrider volunteers Joshua Nipp, Rob Brower, Barbara Wiedner, Scott McCubbins and Brian Kfoury pause while training to load marine debris onto a helicopter. Not shown is participant Raquel Moody.

  • Contributed by Surfrider Kaua‘i

    Surfrider volunteers practice readying a load for pickup by helicopter as part of federal certification training.

  • Contributed by Surfrider Kaua‘i

    Surfrider volunteers receive directions as part of certification training for operations of airlifts of marine debris.

LIHU‘E — In order to continue Operation Airlifts, removing literally tons of marine debris from Kaua‘i’s remote or inaccessible coastline, volunteers of the Kaua‘i Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation underwent certification in the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Interagency Aviation Training program.

Six of the nine volunteers who passed the online A-100 Basic Aviation Safety course were able to attend the A-219 classroom and field training of the Helicopter Transport of External Cargo course offered by OAS (Office of Aviation Safety) certified trainer Bryan Buckingham and assisted by Scott Nelson of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, with the collaboration of Jack Harter Helicopters (Eli Hobbs, pilot).

This course provided technical training and procedures for performing helicopter external load operations. Participants were given the opportunity to develop the skills to safely perform hover hookups and longline operations via a live helicopter.

Surfrider Kaua‘i is looking forward to returning to areas of massive marine-debris accumulation in the spring and removing more than 60 tons of debris yet again this year.

To join the Surfrider marine-debris-removal program, contact Barbara Wiedner at 635-2593 or go to kauai.surfrider.org/beach-cleanup.

  1. Herr Lyft January 24, 2021 9:30 pm Reply

    Just curious, while it is Big Wave typical winter, wouldn’t it make more sense to do this in safer calmer water summer but haul out with boats instead of less haul-ability and some degree of danger with helicopters, even with some kind of mini-barge being towed behind each boat back to nearest landing for disposal, like Hanalei Pier.

    In fact wouldn’t it be more efficient to bring out capable (age) and trustworthy workers from KCCC and let them work off some of their owed time to society with time working long hours for the environment, and at the same time doing a great job in the Wonderland of the Na Pali?

    It’s sure a lot better than feeding them “3 Squares a Day” and getting nothing in return but food bills to the state for their bored time playing volleyball and talking story with each other.

    Would seem some North Shore tour boats with no business due to Covid would volunteer for gas money.

    In fact some could graduate to working at the Refuse Transfer Stations helping the wahine and kupuna unload their own weary loads of household and green waste material, and speed up the waiting lines at the refuse transfer station, the green waste station, and the recycle stations.

    The refuse transfer station, green waste, and recycle station workers are busy monitoring correct disposal and vehicle flow, so let those with a debt to society pay off that debt. Besides they’d look real cool in their horizontal black and white striped t-shirts and and leisure shorts.

    It’s a brilliant idea I wish I would have thought of it myself.

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