Honolulu Star Bulletin (04/08/00)
By Ray Pendleton
Early one morning, about 5 1/2 years ago, most of Hawaii's citizens were rudely roused from their sleep by Civil Defense warning sirens. The cause for the alarm was immediately broadcast by radio and television.
A powerful earthquake had been detected in the waters offshore of Japan and it had possibly generated a tsunami, or what was once called a tidal wave.
In a Water Ways column shortly after, I noted that the view of the Ala Wai marina and the ocean beyond, by the time of the tsunami's 10:30 a.m. predicted arrival, was remarkable in two ways.
First, it was remarkable to see such an unusually large number of boats and ships congregating offshore on a weekday morning, and second, it seemed remarkable that over two-thirds of the Ala Wai's boats never left the marina.
Why didn't more boat owners attempt to protect their investment, I wondered. Was it a lack of understanding of the danger of a tsunami, or a lack of knowledge on how to avoid its danger?
Because April is Tsunami Awareness Month, and because experts have recently warned that Hawaii is overdue for a tsunami, it seems appropriate to once again advise boaters to check out the state's informative handbook, Hawaii Boater's Hurricane Safety Manual, which has a special section dealing with tsunamis.
Along with giving a general overview of the causes and effects of tsunamis, it gives a brief history of tsunamis that have struck our islands and presents an evacuation plan for recreational boaters.
All coastal areas of the Hawaiian islands are vulnerable to inundation by tsunamis. Naturally, if your boat is on a trailer in Wahiawa, you're safe. But, if your boat is moored or on a trailer at one of our state's marinas, the DLNR has a ten-point guideline for you to follow:
For more details on these tsunami evacuation guidelines, pick up a copy of the Hurricane Safety Manual at any state small boat harbor office, or call the DLNR on O`ahu at 808- 587-1963.
Remember, the question is not if there will be a tsunami, just when.
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