HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) -On Wednesday, the Honolulu City Council voted to pass Bill 39. It begins the process of extending lifeguard hours from sunrise to sunset.
The council passed the measure in a 7-0 vote.
It gives the Department of Emergency Services, which oversees Honolulu’s lifeguards, until January 2021 to come up with a long-term plan to establish longer lifeguard schedules. Implementation would begin in July 2021.
Ocean Safety officials say about 20 percent of ocean-related emergencies happen outside their current hours, which runs from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Councilmember Kymberly Pine introduced the measure. She said a pilot project at Hanauma Bay found that lifeguards’ extended, 10-hour shifts saved more lives, boosted employee morale, reduced worker compensation claims and resulted in fewer sick days.
“Once implemented we can be assured that our residents and visitors will be able to enjoy our City beach parks safely from the early morning, until each day’s beautiful sunset unfolds,” Pine said.
The bill now goes to Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s desk, where he’s expected to sign it.