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Opinion pieces, analyses and letters are intended to provide a diverse range of views from our community. They are not intended to represent the views of Maui Now.

Ask the Mayor: Deaths Spur Ocean Safety Video for Visitors

The mayor answers questions from the public in this series.

By Mayor Alan Arakawa

Q: I heard that you can get free plants from the Department of Water Supply. First off, are these native plants and if so, where can I pick them up and how many can I take home?

Maui Nui Botanical Gardens. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui Nui Botanical Gardens. File photo.

A. Those plants were provided by Maui Nui Botanical Gardens and I believe the last place I saw them being handed out was during Earth Day. However our Department of Water Supply (DWS) does still give out free low-flow fixtures daily. This includes shower heads, faucet aerators for the kitchen and bathroom and leak detection dye tablets. Please stop by the DWS offices on the fifth floor of the county building to take advantage of these water saving devices. Also, native plants that require little water are a good investment for your backyard. While we do not give away free plants we still have a wealth of information about xeriscaping in our County of Maui Landscape and Gardening Handbook. For more information go to our county website at www.mauicounty.gov and check out the Water Conservation Section of the DWS web page.

Q. These drownings we keep having are ridiculous. Kauai has a video playing in their airport about ocean safety and we need to do the same at least. Why can’t we take some of those millions that we give to the Maui Visitor’s Bureau and do some ocean safety education? Some of our tourists have never been in the ocean before in their life and they’re getting into serious trouble out there. We’ve got to do something, please. Thank you. 

A: I did some checking and that Kauai ocean safety video was a community project done by the Rotary Club of Kapaa. It is a great idea, and I believe our Maui Visitors Bureau (MVB) is speaking with our local rotary club as well as the state Department of Transportation to see if something similar can be set up at the Kahului Airport. Education is key, especially for visitors who may not be strong swimmers. And yes, you are correct in saying that some of them have never even been in the ocean before.

Black Rock. File photo.

Black Rock, an area that has seen many ocean fatalities lately. File photo.

Also, looking at the victims, police, fire, lifeguards and even our friends in the US Coast Guard all say the same thing, that many people who drown have pre-existing medical conditions and perhaps should have not been in the water in the first place. MVB has an annual safety and security meeting for hotel, condos and timeshares where some of this information is covered, but I believe we need more outreach. A safety video in the baggage claim area where we have a captive audience while visitors wait for their luggage sounds like a good place to start.

Q: Homeless people in the gravel parking lot next to the Paia Post Office are making the area unsafe. Some stay there overnight and get angry if you park to close to their cars, which they live in. I am sympathetic to the homeless situation but can’t we do something about this?

A: Our police department has been made aware of the situation and signs have been put up in that parking lot to say that vehicles will be towed away after hours. There should not be a problem with people living in that lot anymore. Also, please contact police directly by dialing 911 if you are accosted or threatened.

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Editor's Note:Maui Now is an open forum and we welcome any views. However, please apply your sense of aloha when posting comments - remarks that are unnecessarily offensive will be blocked.

 
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  • mauibuilt

    Lifeguard towers are found on county beaches. Kaanapali beach and Black Rock are NOT county beaches. No county lifeguards will ever be posted at Black Rock. If the Sheraton hotel posted a lifeguard on its property overlooking Black Rock the hotel would be held liable for injuries or deaths.

    • sonofaintnobodylikejesus

      We need to erect shrines to the dead near Black Rock to remind the ocean-goers of the dangers of the ocean… Maybe they have signs there already.. if not.. how about a sign?
      It’s really sad they hush it up for money.. and more people die…

      • Dumb remarks needs thinking

        So you heard of the drowning at Black Rock. What the hell are you talking about hush hush the incident. It was in the news. You people always try to make a story in to a bigger unnecessary story. So, who’s covering up the incident? Its more insted of hushing up the story is more the story just fades away.

        • sonofaintnobodylikejesus

          The point is that many incidents are definitely not given the proper attention. Yes they are in the news but so many visitors come here and have no idea of the dangers…and they should be informed one way or another… It’s contrary to tourist promotion to warn people of the dangers…
          The string of deaths at the same spot should grow to a tourist warning.. not “fade away” as you say… So every tourist who finds out about Black Rock to snorkel without finding out how many people died… that seems like horrible cover up of the risks that person faces… So there you see the competing interests at play… promotion always wins over safety…

          The only dumb “remark” I see here is your rude reply… No aloha there…

          • Dumb remarks needs thinking

            Now that you’ve mentioned your concern that way you’re right and it sounds a whole lot better then your first post and it’s all ALOHA. Stating statements the wrong way can lead to bad replies like I have done. Thank you for restating your first comment you show ALOHA I’ll show ALOHA.

  • Maui_Mike

    The best time to educate visitors is not in the noisy chaos in baggage claim, but rather on the flight here when they are truly a captive audience as you put it, all Hawaii bound planes should show the video, it would save lives.

  • Bradah Ry

    Nobody is responsible for these honkies. Just more fertilizer for the island.

    • Phoebus

      Tsk, tsk – the least we could do would be to set up a shrine for them behind Safeway.


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