A rescue boat that cost taxpayers $118K sits mostly idle in a Kewalo Basin yard

Published: Jan. 30, 2019 at 6:46 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When Gov. David Ige and Mayor Kirk Caldwell unveiled the new rescue boat at Kewalo Basin nearly three years ago, state and city officials said it would improve emergency response along Oahu’s south shore.

But since then, the boat has sit mostly idle in a Kewalo Basin yard, used occasionally for large-scale events such as escorting the Hokulea and ocean safety activities during the Fourth of July Flotilla and rough water swim events.

“A big, big waste of money in the worst way ... (They’re) wasting money leaving it sitting here," said environmental watchdog Carroll Cox.

Back in 2014, the state paid $118,000 for the 21-foot Guardian Boston Whaler, then donated its use to the city Department of Emergency Services.

But the city said it has not used the boat for individual rescues, such as last month’s rescue of a jet pilot who crashed off of Kewalo Basin. It said the fighter pilot was rescued immediately by a private boat in the area.

The city also said it doesn’t have the personnel to assign to the boat full time.

Most of the city’s lifeguards in the downtown area are trained to use jet skis and aren’t trained to conduct rescues with this boat.

“Shamefully, if we have a major boat accident or a plane crash, this could be used in that. But instead, it’s locked in that fence in a maintenance yard," said Cox.

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