Group plans to give away rescue tubes to prevent ocean deaths - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

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Group plans to give away rescue tubes to prevent ocean deaths

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Drowning is the no. 1 cause of injury-related death for tourists.

Now, one group hopes to save lives by giving away free rescue tubes.

The tubes have been proven to save lives on Kauai and are just starting to come to Oahu.

And under a pilot project, supported by the Hawaii Kai Lions Club, Hawaiian Cement, Hui Nalu Canoe Club and a number of individuals, more tubes will be coming to beaches.

The Hawaii Kai Lions clubs started a GoFundMe to purchase more rescue tubes, which are about $85 each.

And the group hopes to give 100 away for free.

"Hawaii looks so peaceful but it can be a treacherous place," aid Eric Kvick, co-organizer of the Rescue Tube Project for the Hawaii Kai Lions Club. "I'd like to see everybody go back home the same way they came."

Resident Joel Leo is among those behind the project, and says rescue tubes are simple to use and can save lives at beaches with no lifeguard.

As a waterman, Leo has seen his share of dangerous situations.

"Being a surfer and body boarder, I've helped a number of people out in the water. It does happen. It's a real thing," he said.

Leo said if you see an emergency, call 911 and then follow the instructions on the rescue tube

When you are in the water with the rescue tube, don't let the victim grab onto you because they can pull you down. Instead let them hang onto the tube.

"So it's best to keep the rescue tube in between yourself and the victim," he said.

Just last week, two visitors from China drowned at Hanauma Bay.

"Even though Hanauma looks like a benign place, that has the single highest fatalities for any beach that we look at," said Dan Galanis, epidemiologist with the state Department of Health EMS and Injury Prevention Branch.

He added, "We estimate that the risk of ocean drownings among visitors is 10 times higher than for Hawaii residents."

Galanis said drowning while snorkeling is a particular concern, but rescue tubes can help.

The Rescue Tube Foundation estimates on Kauai the devices have been involved in 140 successful rescues since 2008. The Hawaii Kai Lions Club hopes to have similar success on Oahu.

To help the fund, click here.

The giveaway is set for April 29, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Maunalua Bay Boat Harbor.

Reservations for the tubes are strongly recommended. To reserve a tube, contact Kvich at eekvick@gmail.com or by phone at (808) 780-7018.

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