The 19-foot Boston Whaler now joins Radon 1, the department's existing rescue boat. However, this boat will primarily be utilized for emergency response in the Kapa'a District, namely Wailua River, where the Radon has limited to access.
The new vessel will be particularly helpful during rescue missions in the remote portions of the Wailua River, such as Uluwehi Falls, a popular kayaking and hiking destination that is prone to flash flooding during Kaua'i's rainy season.
The boat was aptly named Koholalele, meaning leaping whale, after a waterfall located in the Wailua River Valley. Koholalele is also the name of an easterly wind that is apparent during the winter months, which coincides with Hawai'i's whale season.
"The purchase of Koholalele is a testament to the dedication of our team," stated Deputy Fire Chief John Blalock. "Their ability and commitment to securing and managing grants help us to obtain the equipment necessary to protect the public that may otherwise not be available to us."
The purchase of the boat was made possible by the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG), a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) program, which contributed 80% of the boat's total cost of $97,419. A team of firefighters began the grant application process in September 2011, and the department was awarded the grant funding in March of 2012.
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