Mayor Derek Kawakami, along with Kaua‘i Fire Department and Ocean Safety Bureau officials performed the traditional haka during the opening of the United States Lifesaving Association conference Dec. 5. Photo courtesy of County of Kaua‘i

Ocean Safety officials and experts from various regions of the nation gathered on Kaua‘i from Dec. 4 to 7, to attend the United States Lifesaving Association Board of Directors Meeting and Conference at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort, according to a news release from the County of Kaua‘i. The last time Kaua‘i had hosted a USLA meeting and conference was more than 11 years ago.

Hosted by the Kaua‘i Fire Department’s Ocean Safety Bureau, the conference covered topics focused on ocean safety techniques, concerns, public education, training, emergency response, and the evolving surf and water sports industry. Sponsors of the conference included the Kaua‘i Lifeguard Association, Hawai‘i Lifeguard Association, P2P Rescue, Hydronalix – EMILY, and OMADA.

“As ocean safety standards and the industry continue to evolve, the mission of all Ocean Safety officials remains the same and that is to reduce injury and save as many lives as possible,” Deputy Fire Chief Kilipaki Vaughan said. “Mahalo to Ocean Safety Bureau Chief Kalani Vierra for coordinating last week’s conference which was a big success. Lifeguards throughout our country were able to learn and grow from other experts and experiences, while sharing in Kaua‘i’s local culture and the unique challenges we face here in Hawai‘i.”

Mayor Derek Kawakami addresses the attendees of the United States Lifesaving Association conference Dec. 5 at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort, welcoming guests from various regions of the nation. Photo courtesy of County of Kaua‘i

The United States Lifesaving Association is a nonprofit association of beach lifeguards and open water rescuers. According to its website, the USLA works to reduce the incidence of death and injury in the aquatic environment through public education, national lifeguard standards, training programs, promotion of high levels of lifeguard readiness, and other means. For more information about the USLA, visit www.usla.org. The USLA Board of Directors meet biannually in different regions of the U.S. The last time a USLA meeting and conference was held on Kaua‘i was in April 2008.

For more information about Kaua‘i ocean conditions and ocean safety, speak to a county lifeguard at any lifeguard station, visit www.hawaiibeachsafety.com, or call the Ocean Safety Bureau at 241-4984.