East Hawaii News

Foundation Installing More Life-Saving ‘Rescue Tubes’

October 9, 2013, 4:25 PM HST
* Updated October 9, 4:26 PM
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A Waimea-based foundation is preparing the groundwork to save lives.

The Alex & Duke De Rego Foundation next week will begin installing “rescue tubes” at Big Island beaches.

The equipment consisting of a yellow flotation device mounted on a PVC stand topped with a flag has aided ocean users dozens of times across the state since first being installed on Kauai.

Beginning Monday, the tubes will be installed at sites from Kona to Kohala to Hamakua,including Kahalu`u Beach Park, Magic Sands, Old Kona Airport, Kohanaiki, Spencer Beach Park, Keokea and Laupahoehoe Point. Some of the longer beaches, such as the Old Kona Airport, will have more than one.

Kevin Sakai of the county Department of Parks and Recreation, left, and Mike Varney scout a location for a rescue tube at Magic Sands beach in Kona. Foundation photo.

Kevin Sakai of the county Department of Parks and Recreation, left, and Mike Varney scout a location for a rescue tube at Magic Sands beach in Kona. Foundation photo.

A rescue tube has already been installed by the organization at Ho`okena Beach Park in South Kona.

The county Department of Parks and Recreation assisted the foundation in obtaining state permits necessary for some of the installations.

About two dozen of the apparatus were installed last year by the Rotary Club of Hilo at Hilo-area beaches.

Foundation President Shirley De Rego said the organization’s board of directors was sold on the idea as soon as it heard about the success of the tubes from proponent Mike Varney of Waimea.

That includes the role tubes played in saving a North Carolina family caught in a riptide at Pololu Valley earlier this year.

“My goal is to put a rescue tube at all of the beaches on the Big Island,” she said.

The foundation, named in memory of two of De Rego’s sons, is dedicated to ocean safety as well as first aid and CPR training.

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