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Ocean safety clinics launch

PO‘IPU — The surfing-instruction class readying to hit the water was bigger than the ocean safety clinic taking place Saturday in the beach access between the Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort and Kiahuna Plantation.

“There should be a lot more people here,” said Cynthia Chiang of the state Department of Health Public Safety division. “There’re more resorts than the Sheraton Kaua‘i, and how many surf-instruction classes are there? People need this training, especially those involved in ocean recreational activities because, sometimes, when ocean-related incidents take place, the lifeguards are not immediately available.”

The South Shore Ocean Safety Awareness Clinic was presented by the Kaua‘i Fire Department Ocean Safety Bureau and the Kaua‘i Lifeguard Association with support from community sponsors like the Sheraton Kaua‘i.

“This is a pilot project,” said Chantal Zarbaugh of the Kaua‘i Lifeguard Association. “Kalani Vierra, the Kaua‘i Ocean Safety Bureau chief, wanted to do an event aiming to educate and train the community on how to react in the event of an ocean-related emergency. He got this idea following a series of recent ocean-related incidents in this area.”

Vierra and OSB Lt. Kleve Zarbaugh took the lead in providing training in risk management, lifeguard operations, various rescue skills and demonstrations on the use of the various devices utilized in ocean rescues, including the rescue tubes that dot beaches island-wide.

These exercises are similar to those used in the highly-successful Junior Lifeguard programs that take place during the summer breaks and are open to youth up to 18 years old.

“This is the first one,” Chantal Zarbaugh said. “Kalani has a vision of being able to do these types of free clinics at least once a quarter, and at different community locations.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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