Friday, June 14, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Thursday, May 30, 2024
Mayor signs resolution to create standalone Ocean Safety Department
By News Release @ 2:03 AM :: 647 Views :: Honolulu County

Mayor signs resolution to create standalone Ocean Safety Department

News Release from Office of the Mayor, May 29, 2024

HONOLULU – In a ceremony at Honolulu Hale on Wednesday, Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed Resolution 24-103 to create a new standalone Ocean Safety Department, effective immediately. City and County of Honolulu lifeguards now have their own department, a decisive action that follows the unanimous recommendation of an independent task force, which was established at the direction of Mayor Blangiardi.

Mayor Blangiardi also signed Resolution 24-50, FD1, allowing voters to decide on November’s ballot whether to establish an Ocean Safety Commission to oversee the new department. These two resolutions give City and County lifeguards their own department as quickly as possible, while also allowing voters to determine whether a commission ought to provide oversight and accountability for the leadership of the new Ocean Safety Department.

“Our courageous City and County of Honolulu lifeguards race into the face of danger each and every day, in some of the most hazardous ocean conditions on Earth. They deserve our unwavering support and appreciation, because they put their lives on the line for all of us,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “Establishing a standalone Ocean Safety Department is long overdue and we hope it sends a powerful message in helping our lifeguards do their job more effectively and efficiently, while also allowing them to continue to serve as world-leading innovators when it comes to life-saving techniques in the ocean.”

In 2023, Mayor Blangiardi directed that an independent task force be created to study the feasibility of an independent Ocean Safety Department. The task force concluded unanimously that Ocean Safety would operate more effectively on its own. Since 1998, the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division had been paired with the Emergency Medical Services Division under the umbrella of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department.

City Council Chair Tommy Waters, Councilmember Andria Tupola and Councilmember Matt Weyer were absolutely critical to making an independent Ocean Safety Department a reality. They introduced the resolutions that led to this historic day.

“I’m grateful that we are signing Resolution 24-50, FD1 and 24-103 supporting the Ocean Safety Department and Ocean Safety Commission,” said Councilmember Andria Tupola. “We unite with the lifeguards who have gone before, the lifeguards that are here now, and the lifeguards that will come next.”

“The establishment of the Ocean Safety Department marks a pivotal moment for our community,” said City Councilmember Matt Weyer. “For years, concerns over water safety and the need for a standalone department have been voiced by residents, Councilmembers, and local leaders. This initiative not only displays our shared dedication to prioritizing public safety and supporting our City lifeguards, but it is also a significant leap forward in our ongoing efforts to strengthen our resilience against coastal hazards. I am so grateful to be part of this collective effort, and I look forward to working with the administration to support this new department.”

The origin of Oʻahu’s lifeguards traces back to the Waikīkī Beach Boys in 1901, with the Outrigger Canoe Club and the Hui Nalu Surfing Club steering increasingly organized lifeguarding between 1910 and 1917, when Act 201 of the Territory of Hawaiʻi officially established a “Life-Saving Patrol” for Waikīkī Beach, a moment widely recognized as the birth of the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division. In 1949, lifeguards were placed under the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Parks and Recreation. In 1998, they were placed under the newly created Emergency Services Department, where they stayed until now.

Currently, there are 271 Water Safety Officers, eight rescue ski teams and 42 lifeguard towers monitoring 227 miles of coastline on Oʻahu, utilizing surfboards, fins, jetskis, a deep understanding of the ocean, and their finely honed mental and physical prowess to keep millions of beach-goers safe.

For more key figures and dates in the history of Ocean Safety, please visit: "the-history-of-ocean-safety"


Ocean Safety Department holds groundbreaking blessing for first operations station to be designed and built for the lifeguards in their 107-year history

News Release from Office of the Mayor, May 30, 2024

HONOLULU – Today, Honolulu Ocean Safety made history with a ground breaking ceremony for the first facility designed to be built for the lifeguard service in its history. A blessing by retired lifeguard and Kahu, Dennis Sallas, took place on a parcel of land perched along the Lanikai hillside, overlooking Kailua Bay and Kailua Beach Park. The facility will be a hub for lifeguards’ Windward operations, which covers the area between the Mōkapu Peninsula and Waimānalo Bay.

“Our Ocean Safety Department is home to the best watermen and women in the world and we are so very proud of each and every one of them,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “This building is long overdue and represents much more than just a physical space. This new facility, the first dedicated build for Ocean Safety in its 107-year history, represents our commitment to our incredible Ocean Safety team who keep a watchful eye over beachgoers along O‘ahu’s 227 miles of shoreline.”

The single story center will sit on roughly 10,000 square feet of land. The building itself will 800 square feet, consisting of two offices, a bathroom, a kitchenette, a board storage room and two roll-up garages for trucks and skis to be stored. The station will be a safe place for lifeguards to store their rescue and medical equipment.

“This has been a historic week for Ocean Safety with the announcement of our new department and with today’s blessing to kick-off construction at our first facility designed for and built for our lifeguards and community. It took a lot of hands to get us here today and we want to thank all those who made this happen and the public for its unwavering support,” said Acting Chief of the Ocean Safety Department, Kurt Lager.

Construction is expected to commence June 3rd, with work being conducted Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. A temporary construction fence to mitigate dust will be erected during the first week.

“Today’s ceremony is a longtime coming and I see it as a huge step towards ensuring all of our lifeguards have the facilities necessary for them to protect the public,” said Tony Ho, retired Ocean Safety lieutenant.

Bowers and Kubota Consulting and CC Engineering and Construction were awarded the contracts. The total cost of the windward facility is $2.5 million, with its opening expected in summer of 2025.


KITV: Honolulu Ocean Safety breaks ground on first dedicated lifeguard facility | News |

HNN: Blangiardi signs resolution creating standalone Ocean Safety Department (

SA: Groundbreaking held for Ocean Safety facility on Windward coast



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii