Branch Lotspeich and the Rescue Tube Foundation recognized for lifesaving contributions
The State House of Representatives recognized a Kauaʻi resident Branch Lotspeich and the Rescue Tube Foundation for their life-saving efforts in reducing the risks of drowning-related deaths on the beaches of Hawaiʻi.
Marking the first House honoree of the 2024 General Session, members of the Kauaʻi delegation delivered floor remarks and presented the recipient with a certificate and lei in recognition of their outstanding service to the community.
Lotspeich, the founding member and current acting executive director of the Rescue Tube Foundation, played a pivotal role in the creation of Public Access Rescue Tubes and Stations, which have saved up to 200 lives and prevented an estimated 30 drownings.
The 52-inch-long, bright yellow rescue flotation devices can hold up to three people for multiple hours and are user-friendly with picture descriptions. The pole harboring the rescue device is numbered to identify its exact GPS location during emergencies.
Under Lotspeich’s leadership, the first rescue tubes with the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay were installed over fourteen years ago on Kauaʻi. Since then, the Rescue Tube Foundation has expanded to over 600 stations across Hawaiʻi’s beaches including on Maui, the US mainland and internationally.
“Branch Lotspeich’s vision to create rescue tubes and distribute them globally has significantly reduced drowning deaths and averted tragedies,” said Rep. Nadine K. Nakamura. “His actions exemplify those of a hero in our community.”
In January 2024, the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaiʻi Kai Lions Club and Rotary Club of Honolulu partnered with Lotspeich to install 20 rescue tubes along 20 miles of Oʻahu’s southern and windward shores, from Kawaikui Beach Park in ‘Āina Haina to Kailua Beach Park. Since the expansion, there have been reports of at least one life saved when a 20-year-old man in distress at China Walls was rescued with minor injuries.
“This is one of many instances where the rescue tubes have saved endangered swimmers,” said Rep. Dee Morikawa. “We encourage more communities to be proactive and place public access floatation devices on their beaches and waterways. If it prevents even a single drowning, the effort is undeniably worth it.”