POP QUIZ: What is the number one thing most Hawai‘i visitors forget while preparing for their island vacation?
If you guessed ocean safety, you’re right.
To help encourage our guests to become ocean smart before they arrive in Hawai‘i, we teamed up with Nā Kama Kai, an O‘ahu-based nonprofit dedicated to connecting keiki (children) with the kai (ocean). Throughout the year, guests traveling between Hawai‘i and our U.S. mainland and international destinations in our main cabin can learn essential ocean safety “do’s” and “don’ts” with the organization’s new Ocean Safety and Stewardship video.
The video was created under the passionate vision of Nā Kama Kai’s founder and CEO Duane DeSoto, with its easy-to-follow lessons distributed to public school fourth-graders statewide. A free Ocean Safety and Stewardship Awareness digital activity book is also available for download at NaKamaKai.Org/Ocean-Safety.
“Ocean safety education could potentially have a negative tone to visitors but knowing what to look for is absolutely critical and cannot be ignored,” shared DeSoto. “When we were developing this video, we wanted it to be entertaining and inclusive so that every member of the ‘ohana, especially our keiki, could learn the basics before jumping in the water.”
Throughout the film, DeSoto – a professional surfer born and raised in Mākaha (West O‘ahu), home to some of the best watermen and women in the world – and a group of Hawaii’s premier surfers and lifeguards share their expertise in reading the ocean.
“While our coastlines are pristine, they can also be dangerous,” DeSoto continued. “It’s important to know that each beach has its own unique personality and temperaments that change with the season. Our hope is to help teach the basics, like getting out of rip-tides, swimming out of strong currents, avoiding dangerous shore breaks and understanding your personal limits.”
“Nā Kama Kai does such fantastic work for our local ocean-going communities, and it seemed like a natural fit for them to teach our guests about ocean safety,” said Evan Nomura, product manager for in-flight entertainment at Hawaiian Airlines. “The video is fun to watch and teaches a lot of great lessons that we’re confident will benefit all guests before they reach our shores.”
DeSoto started Nā Kama Kai in 2008, leveraging the generations-old knowledge he received growing up in Mākaha. Today, the nonprofit empowers keiki by nurturing their relationship to the ocean so they may better appreciate and care for the natural environment and themselves.
Our Hawaiian Airlines ‘ohana has supported Nā Kama Kai from the start and has been fortunate to experience the impact DeSoto and his team of incredible volunteers have made on thousands of Hawai‘i’s youth. Their free offerings include monthly Ocean Safety and Conservation Awareness Clinics, keiki surf contests and the Alaka‘i Mentorship Program, a skills-based program developed in partnership with the Polynesian Voyaging Society to steward local teens into ocean-related careers. Nā Kama Kai is also a partner of the City and County of Honolulu’s Junior Lifeguard Program.