Coast Guard warns of hazards ahead of 4th of July ocean festivities

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A Coast Guard ride-along in the waters off of Honolulu Monday gave KHON2 a look at how the organization looks to keep people safe on the water during the upcoming 4th of July holiday.

“We want everyone to go out and have fun, but be responsible.” Captain Kurt Lager of the Honolulu Ocean Safety Division said.

“Our main goal is everyone goes home safe and sound. It’s going to be a very busy weekend, we’re going to have some surf, we’re going to have some high tides. A lot of people.”

The 4th of July has been a date celebrated with a “floatilla” in Waikiki in past years. The Coast Guard has had to make hundreds of rescues at such events in the past.

“If someone is thinking about participating in a ‘floatilla’ they should know that they’re taking their lives in their own hands to do so.” Coast Guard Maritime Enforcement Specialist Eddy Crochetiere said.

The Coast Guard says it will put every asset it has into operation on Thursday, but still expects to be stretched thin by activity and a predicted south swell.

“The Coast Guard as well as our state and local partners, we’re putting so many boats in the water doing our best, but the thing is that’s not that many compared to what could be a thousand people drunkenly floating in the water so you can do the math something bad might happen.”

A “floatilla” event also threatens marine life and ecosystem with a gluttony of trash left in it’s wake.

“Absolutely and over the last couple of years these floatillas create a huge amount of trash in the water.” Hawaii State Fusion Center Analyst Cort Chambers said.

“They threaten the ocean life, and they also just ruin our natural environment.”

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