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Lions Club partners with City to install 20 rescue tubes from Kawaikui to Kailua

O‘AHU -- In the continued effort to improve the safety of ocean-goers venturing into our island's coastal waters, the City is pleased to announce the realization of a partnership with the Lions Club to make 20 rescue tubes publicly available along roughly 20 miles of O‘ahu's southern and Windward shores.

Stretching from Kawaikui Beach Park in Āina Haina to Kailua Beach Park, Lions Club members from four separate Hawai‘i-based chapters worked with the Honolulu City Council, Ocean Safety Lifeguards, and the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to determine key points for these life-saving devices. They include:

  • Kawaikui Beach Park
  • Shoreline access points in Portlock (i.e. China Walls and Spitting Caves)
  • Kaiwi Coastline (i.e. Lāna‘i Lookout and Hālona Blowhole)
  • Sandy Beach Park (Wāwāmalu)
  • Makapu‘u Beach Park
  • Kaiona Beach Park
  • Waimānalo Beach Park
  • Hūnānaniho
  • Bellows Field Beach Park
  • Kailua Beach Park

The exact locations of these 20 rescue tubes are available via DPR's interactive map for ocean safety and shoreline access resources, viewable online at: bit.ly/OahuBeachAccess This map also contains where you can find beaches staffed with the 42 Ocean Safety Lifeguard Towers, DPR-managed beach access points, and other ocean accessibility and safety amenities.

The 52"-long, yellow foam rescue tubes include a black lanyard strap all intended to be used as flotation devices for assisting water rescues by supporting the victim's and rescuer's weight. The tubes are affixed to designated, highly visible stands, and are readily available for use by any beachgoer in emergency situations.

"We are excited to enter into this important partnership with the City & County of Honolulu and provide this essential community service to swimmers across East O‘ahu," said Eric Kvick, Hawai‘i Kai Lions Club Rescue Tube Project Chair. "The community has shown heartfelt support for our efforts and we are fortunate to learn that lives are being saved on a daily basis because of our rescue tubes."

The local chapters of the Lions Club involved in this agreement include the: Koko Head Lions Club, Hawai‘i Kai Lions Club, Hawai‘i Cyber Lions Club, and Mānoa Lions Club. Together they make up the "Lions Rescue Tube Group", who paid for the tubes and their stands, installed them, and will inspect, replace, or maintain these lifesaving devices as needed. The Rotary Club of Honolulu was also instrumental in providing financial support and helping to install the rescue tubes and stands.

In 2019, the Hawai‘i Kai Lions Club met with Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters to discuss installation of the rescue tubes on public beaches. Waters later worked with Councilmember Calvin Say to pass Resolution 21-170 in favor of their installation.

"As always the Council is pleased to partner with the City Administration and the community to pave the way for projects like these that can save and improve people's lives," said Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters. "Our Ocean Safety Lifeguards work hard from dawn to dusk to keep ocean-goers safe. But given the unpredictability of our oceans and the vastness of the beach areas along the southern and Windward coastline, we are incredibly grateful to the Lions Clubs for their donation of rescue tubes, which will greatly enhance our ability to offer additional life-saving devices that help to keep our residents and visitors safe."

According to the Rescue Tube Foundation, more than 150 water rescues were made and some 25 drownings prevented from 2010 to 2020 as a result of the approximately 200 rescue tubes they installed on Kaua‘i. In 2018, Act 145 was signed amending Hawai‘i's Good Samaritan Law to provide legal protection for rescuers who utilize the tubes in an emergency situation and those who house and manage the tubes.

"Honolulu Ocean Safety and our Parks & Rec counterparts are stoked on this awesome outreach by our local Lions Club watermen and water women," said John Titchen, Chief of Honolulu Ocean Safety. "These tubes have been extremely helpful for years in our neighbor island counties, and we already have plenty of examples here in East Honolulu where they have been used to save lives. Lifeguards cannot always get to distressed ocean goers in time, so having these nearby where they can be deployed by Good Samaritans is critical for helping keep everyone safe."

In late Oct. 2023, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced $1.3 million was appropriated for the hiring of 18 full-time lifeguards to bolster the existing rescuers ahead of the winter surf season and support extended lifeguard services. In summer 2023, lifeguards extended the hours of operation for their 42 towers to 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

If you need an auxiliary aid/service, other accommodations due to a disability, or an interpreter for a language other than English in reference to this announcement, please contact the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation at (808) 768-3003 on weekdays from 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. or email parks@honolulu.gov at least three business days before the scheduled event. Without sufficient advanced notice, it may not be possible to fulfill requests.

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