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Rotary clubs install rescue tubes at West Maui county beach parks

Members of Rotary Clubs of Lahaina Sunrise, Lahaina and Lahaina Sunset gather to install the first of several rescue tube stations at Launiupoko Beach Park in February. Those with experience, including Tori Taylor (left) and David Ristau (in foreground), demonstrated the steps before the group broke up into smaller teams. Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset past president Mariko Higashi said the tubes cost $175 apiece and the clubs still are raising funds to purchase tubes for the rest of West Maui’s beach parks. “We welcome donors and volunteers to monitor and maintain the tubes,” she said. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The three Rotary clubs of Lahaina recently installed 33 yellow rescue tubes at nine West Maui county beach parks. The rescue tubes are to provide assistance to swimmers in distress.

“We are very grateful to the strong encouragement and support from retired Battalion Chief Colin Yamamoto for the Rotary clubs to engage in this project,” said Darryl Ng, president of the Rotary Club of Lahaina. “Many Rotarians and friends of Rotary helped install these rescue tubes, and the warm reaction from the public is beyond words.”

“Lifeguards are doing an amazing job to cover the huge area of ocean, and we hope these rescue tubes will supplement their great work,” added Brian Beach, president of the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunrise.

“We would like to encourage hotels and resorts to install rescue tubes at their properties, which literally saves lives. We will be happy to advise them how to install and maintain them,” said Heidi Dollinger, president of the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset.

Plans are underway for the clubs to produce a brochure and a video about the use of rescue tubes for visitors and residents alike.

Rotary clubs are accepting donations to install more rescue tubes, maintain them, and for public outreach. Donations of $175 to purchase one rescue tube or any amount to support this ongoing project are welcome. Contact Mariko Higashi, Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset, at 866-8116 or marikoinmaui@gmail.com to donate or for more information regarding the Rescue Tube Project.