Benefit seeks to help Kauai lifeguards save more lives
Ticket sales for the Ocean Safety Bureau and the Kauai Lifeguard Association’s fifth annual fundraiser on July 27, have been slower than usual.
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Since April, when disastrous flooding on Kauai placed many of its north shore attractions off-limits to nonresidents, impacts have been felt on the island’s other shores, in the east, west and especially the dry, resort-covered Poipu district of the south shore.
“Due to the North Shore being limited or closed, a lot of our visitors are flocking down to the South Shore, so it’s been really crowded,” said Kalani Vierra, bureau chief for the County of Kauai Ocean Safety Bureau.
However, Kauai County, stretched thin for funds, had just 10 lifeguard towers on 65 beaches and only one tower on the South Shore until recently. On April 20, a second tower, purchased with private donations, was placed at Nukumoi Point, between Poipu Beach Park and Waiohai Beach, a snorkeling hot spot where many have drowned.
The existing tower was moved to the eastern end of Poipu Beach Park, allowing the new tower to stand closer to the western end.
5TH WAVE CELEBRATION
A benefit for the Kauai Lifeguard Association
>> Where: Kauai Marriott Resort, 3610 Rice St., Lihue
>> When: 5 to 9:30 p.m. July 27
>> Cost: $250 ($170 tax deductible); tables for 10 $2,000
>> Info: kauailifeguards.org
“Now the response times are cut in half; since the first week, we’ve had all kinds of rescues and saves,” Vierra said. On May 9 alone lifeguards made three separate saves from the new tower in a matter of 10 minutes, he added. “There was a near drowning a few weeks ago and with the quick response with that tower, I think that’s why that person is alive today.”
While its timing was serendipitous, the new tower resulted from years of planning by the Ocean Safety Bureau and the Kauai Lifeguard Association, a nonprofit founded in 2006 that raises funds to sustain the island’s junior lifeguard program and support the bureau’s preventive and lifesaving work with additional towers, facilities, land and water vehicles, educational pamphlets and safety videos.
But ticket sales for the group’s fifth annual fundraiser, its “5th Wave Celebration” on July 27, have been slower than usual.
“Most of our community individuals and concerned businesses came to the forefront, and rightly so, donating funds to the recovery efforts and people in need,” said association board member Andy Melamed. “That has left our ‘5th Wave Celebration’ for 2018 in need of support.”
Melamed said the event usually sells out months ahead, but by the end of last week 250 tickets remained unsold for this year’s evening of feasting, live music by Makana, Paula Fuga and the John Rivera Trio, auctions, prizes, games and neighborly love.
“Kauai is a very strong ocean community and we’re all coming together to make the island a safe place for ourselves and our visitors,” Vierra said. “It’s something really important to our heart.”
Proceeds will go toward a storage facility on Kauai’s South Shore, an additional roving patrol for unguarded beaches and another lifeguard tower at Nawiliwili, Melamed said.