On Saturday, September 4, 2021, the Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) received a 911
call at 7:54 p.m. for a boater in distress near the entrance to Keehi Harbor. Five
resource units staffed with 16 personnel responded to the rescue call. Since this
incident occurred in the State of Hawaii’s Airport Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) unit’s
response area, ARFF Rescue Boat 3, located at their boathouse on Lagoon Drive, was
also dispatched to assist.
The first HFD fire fighters arrived at the shoreline at the Keehi Boat Ramp at 8:09 p.m.
ARFF Rescue Boat 3 arrived at the offshore scene, located approximately one and
one-third of a mile from land, and made visual contact with the sailboat and occupants
at 8:30 p.m. The 30-foot sailboat ran aground on the reef in an unmarked channel on
the west-side of the Harbor’s entrance. Because of the shallow water conditions, the
ARFF boat was used to get closer to the grounded vessel. Working together, the HFD
personnel used a paddleboard to safely shuttle the four sailors from the grounded
vessel to the ARFF Rescue Boat 3. The two males and two females were then
transferred to the HFD Rescue 1 boat and were brought to shore via the main channel
at 9:57 p.m. A medical assessment was performed to confirm that no medical attention
was needed by the Emergency Medical Services.
Since the ocean conditions did not allow for any attempt to be made to remove the
vessel from the reef, the vessel’s Captain and sailboat’s information was secured and
relayed to the United States Coast Guard. All involved with this incident were
accounted for with no reports of injuries.