Rescue tubes at Oahu shores
An Oahu group is taking matters into its own hands, when it comes to the life-and-death matter of ocean safety. They are responsible for the yellow rescue tubes that have appeared at a number of beach side locations.
An Oahu group is taking matters into its own hands, when it comes to the life-and-death matter of ocean safety.
They are responsible for the yellow rescue tubes that have appeared at a number of beach side locations.
East Oahu has some spectacular cliff side surf breaks and scenic spots, but the appeal of jumping into the remote locations has led to a higher numbers of drownings over the past ten years.
"There were 273 drownings on Oahu, and 164 of those in East Oahu, from Waikiki to Kailua. That's how the Hawaii Kai Lions got involved. Because a lot of those drownings were in our neighborhood. Between Sandy Beach, Makapuu, Spitting Cave and China Walls those places have a lot of drownings," said Bill Modglin, with the Hawaii Kai Lions Club.
While it is difficult to add more lifeguards, it is not too hard to provide more rescue tubes, which cost about $80 each.
Rescue tubes are already being used at other beaches around the state. Ones, provided by private organizations, on Kauai have been used more than a hundred times to save troubled swimmers.
Last December the Hawaii Kai Lions put up its first rescue tube at the back of an ocean front Lanikai property.
Lions also gave away a hundred tubes to everyday people including firefighters, first responders, and beach goers.
Then came a drowning at spitting cave, at the end of July.
"Shortly after that, the tubes went up at Spitting Caves. Then on August 14th, at the same place where the guy drowned, the tube was used to keep a swimmer in distress afloat for 25 minutes until the rescue helicopter arrived. I spoke to the family of the rescue diver, and they told me this guy would have drowned for sure without the tube," said Eric Kvick, another Hawaii Kai Lion.
Kvick added another was used for a rescue in September, "Two success stories, many more to come."
Now the Lions Club has its sights set on greatly increasing the number of rescue tubes.
"We plan to raise enough money to give away 1,000 tubes this time. That's our goal, about $80,000. We're trying to raise it right now," stated Modglin.
Lions would like to see even more tubes in the future. Flooding the island with rescue devices, so one will be nearby when anyone needs it.
"Hopefully it will get like that here. Someone has a problem and instead of people saying, 'what do we do?, what do we do?...People say who has a rescue tube?'" added Kvick.
Right now, Oahu doesn't have rescue tubes available at any beaches, but the Ocean Safety spokeswoman Shayne Enright said it is evaluating all opportunities to minimize the risk to ocean users, that includes looking into providing rescue tubes or rescue rings.
The State Department of Health has also asked the Lions to monitor the number of saves to gather more information on the effectiveness of rescue tubes.