The beauty of Hawaii's beaches can also prove deadly. On Kauai, 15 people have drowned just this year. But one Garden Island woman worked with Kauai's top Ocean Safety leaders to make a difference.
Vicki Sterne is passionate about saving lives. She's so passionate, she walked away from her career to fill a void.
"Our visitors don't always understand what's the difference between a two foot and a five foot wave[s] and what does that really mean to them," Sterne said.
But how could they learn? The solution came to her several years ago while working at the concierge desk at the Kiahuna Plantation Resort.
"One of my returning guests approached me with the idea. He would be the tech guy and I'd take care of the content. It was really because he loved how I shared information with my guests," Sterne said.
It was the origin of the Kauai Beach Guide, an iPhone app which features beach safety information, ocean reports, weather updates, and much more.
"The green pins are lifeguarded beaches. The yellow are beaches that are generally safe, even though they're not lifeguarded, when the surf height is zero to two foot. And then the red pins show beaches where swimming isn't recommended," Sterne said. "It really does help each person chose the right beach on the right day."
Sterne was recently invited to speak at the annual Ocean Safety and Drowning Prevention Conference.
"It was a huge honor to be speaking in front of the most important people in our ocean safety industry," Sterne said. "I was so well received and I really felt that my last four years of work were acknowledged and validated."
Sterne has poured nearly $40,000 into the project and hopes to develop a similar app for other islands.
"I fully believe that my app will save lives. I actually spent my savings on creating the app and I've always felt that it if it just saves one life, it's been more than worth it," Sterne said.
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