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A reminder to be safe in and around Hawai‘i’s waters

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i joined the rest of the state in observing Aug. 13-19 as Hawai‘i Beach and Aquatic Safety Week.

So states a proclamation celebrating the observance that was presented to the Kaua‘i Fire Department, Ocean Safety Bureau, and Kaua‘i Lifeguards Association on Tuesday at the Mo‘ikeha Building, Lihu‘e Civic Center by Managing Director Reiko Matsuyama on behalf of Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami.

Matsuyama said we all know what to do to be safe around Kaua‘i’s waters, including its beaches.

The proclamation serves as a reminder of letting people become more aware of these safety measures, and a means of thanking the first responders, including the many lifeguards, for “protecting the lives of more than 73,000 Kaua‘i residents and more than 1.3 million visitors who come to the Garden Island, usually to enjoy the island’s beautiful beaches, scenery, culture, and community.

“Hawai‘i residents and visitors alike must remember to swim near a lifeguard, learn to swim, learn rip current safety, never swim alone, designate a water watcher, alcohol and water don’t mix, feet first water entry, life jackets safe lives, observe signs and flags, and beat the heat and block the sun,” are just some of the reminders stated on the proclamation.

Kalani Vierra, the Ocean Safety Bureau Chief, said as part of the week’s observance the Kaua‘i Ocean Safety Bureau and Kaua‘i Lifeguard Association, will have representatives attending the first-ever leadership conference on O‘ahu where the Kaua‘i group will meet with other leaders from across the state to discuss water life saving measures.

Chantal Zarbaugh, of the Kaua‘i Lifeguards Association, said when the Kaua‘i contingent leaves for the leadership conference, they’ll carry with them a bunch of care packages containing recovery and resilience supplies to be presented directly to Maui lifeguards impacted by the recent wildfires.

“The Ocean Safety Bureau focuses on decreasing drowning and water-related injuries through innovative ocean safety measures year-round,” states the proclamation.

“Lifeguards promote beach safety to our visitors and residents daily, provide hotel guests with beach safety brochures, collaborate with nonprofits and schools to promote water safety and drowning prevention through the keiki and Junior Lifeguard programs, airing of an ocean safety awareness video at the Lihu‘e Airport baggage claim area, and together with partners from the Kaua‘i Lifeguard Association, funds are raised annually to provide more rescue equipment, public safety awareness messages, community programs and lifeguard towers.

“We recognize that the role of our lifeguards is vital to our community as the safety of our beachgoers has a direct impact on the tourism industry, our local economy, and the overall well-being of our island and state.”

Kawakami, via the proclamation, urges all beachgoers to enjoy the beach while taking appropriate measures to protect themselves and their keiki.
Source: The Garden Island

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