The Hawaiian Water Patrol (HWP) was founded by former Honolulu City and County lifeguards Terry Ahue and Brian Keaulana. What started out as a couple of guys on jet skis performing rogue water rescues, finally became a legal entity in the mid 1990’s. This was after scores of tickets were issued to Keaulana for launching his jet-ski. It didn’t matter that he had saved lives while off the Hawaiian Islands.
Ahue and Keaulana realized that they should engage in putting together a book of professional guidelines and standards. Prior to becoming an official organization the two men purchased a couple of skis and brought some other skilled lifeguards on board to run rescue at professional surfing events. Soon after, they built a rescue sled for transporting surfers and victims of water related incidents to safety. This method cut down on the amount of time it took to safely bring someone in from a dangerous situation.
The HWP was soon hailed as the top dog of water rescue and Hollywood approached them for stunt and safety coordination. The lifesavers even became members of the Stunt and Screen Actors Guild and that’s when their operation turned into a money maker!
According to a recent piece on surfline.com, Ahue and Keaulana became certified Hollywood stunt and safety coordinators. Technically, the group operates as “Ocean Risk and Management”, a subcontracted private business hired for any water event, film, or surf contest. The Hawaiian Water Patrol has come a long way since its rogue rescue days! The crew is always learning and staying up to date with and creating the latest rescue techniques. Like a fine wine, it gets better with age.