The Fourth of July is a big deal. Oh say can you see that Declaration of Independence, flag waving, hot dogs, blowing shit up, etc. Since the majority of our readers are in the U.S., you probably did something to celebrate. Hopefully, the hangover’s worn off by now and you managed to retain all your thumbs. Honolulu lifeguards, however, are probably still recovering—not from all the partying, but from all the rescuing. According to reports, lifeguards made a staggering 450 rescues after a Fourth of July “floatilla” ocean party off Waikiki. I imagine a whole flotilla of spandex stars and stripes, mirrored sunglasses, and airborne vomit. It must have been amazing!
This year, the event had around 600 partiers show up, which prompted authorities to call it “tame” in comparison to last year, where something like 10,000 people showed up and throwed up. “As you know, in the past we’ve had serious situations and some people getting so wasted they couldn’t even swim,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said at a news conference Tuesday.
Afer last year’s party, which saw hundreds rescued and ten hospitalizations, officials were down on their knees asking for people to not be total idiots, and in a surprising turn of events, it appears that people listened. “It’s hard to see people, there’s a lot of floaties, there’s a lot of people in the water,” Caldwell said, “and all it takes is for somebody to be floating face down for a while.”
After the debacle last year, the Coast Guard and the Department of Land and Natural Resources hooked up to make sure the giant party stayed relatively safe. “We wanted to really make a very visible presence in the area of the flotilla,” said Jason Redulla, enforcement chief for the state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement. “We wanted to deter any criminal activity, but also to make sure that we had enough resources and assets on scene to provide the level of safety and law enforcement that’s required for an event such as this.”
Although lifeguards were required to save 450 people partiers, most of whom were floating around on inflatable pool toys or in rubber rafts, everyone seems relatively happy with this calmer version of the party. At one point a 132 person floating conga line was reported.
“It was pretty fun,” Jean-Luc Fardel, who took part, told Khon2 News. We paddled outside and the Coast Guard kept watching over us.”
According to Jason Redulla, Deputy Enforcement Chief, the success was because of the partnerships made between different branches of enforcement. “All of these effort combined made it a lot calmer and a lot tamer than previous years,” he said. We haven’t had any reports of any kind of littering activity or people throwing things overboard. Hopefully, because of the more controlled and tamer atmosphere, that will also result in less trash being found as a result of this event.”