Repost of story linked here by KHON2
Faith Kalei-Imaizumi was critically injured after she was hit by a boat propeller during the Pailolo Challenge, and Faith’s daughter Heather will be among the competitors racing in Sunday’s race.
Heather told KHON2 that she’s now advocating for water safety even more so since the accident.
“It’s going to be a really long haul for her recovery just as it was for Luke and many other survivors,” said Heather by phone.
Heather spoke of Luke Evslin, a man injured the same way in October 2010.
With a half dozen similar races under her belt, she knows the potential for danger and she wants to keep others from getting hurt.
“People are in such close proximity to propellers, I would like to see, I know we do this, but our crew put on propeller guards on our escort boat,” Heather advised. “For me that’s like an added layer of security.”
Propeller guards for escort boats can cost around $500, Heather says as a competitor, it’s worth the investment.
“Thats like $50 a lady, there’s 10 of us, right? That’s a very, very, very small price to pay I think for the kind of security that it offers,” Heather said.
The devices are not currently required for races, but the issues has been brought up at the club level and even with state lawmakers.
“I think thats its a decision that every person every crew every canoe club, every association has a say in,” Heather said. “I Hope that it ends up as a policy change from the top.”
Despite what happened to her mother, Heather says she will compete on Sunday. She says it’s what her mother would want.
KHON2 was told Heather’s crew and a few others competing in the Na Wahine O Ke Kai are trying to lead by example. They all worked with their captains to install propeller guards on the escort boats.
She says not only does it give the women peace of mind, it’s also an opportunity for escort captains to try it out and give their honest feedback.