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Free Ocean Awareness Training course slated in Lahaina

By Staff | Apr 22, 2010

Lahaina Restoration Foundation will again sponsor a Progressive Dinner on May 28-29 at four historic sites. This costumed whaler may be back at the Pioneer Inn to entertain residents and visitors after they enjoy a sumptuous feast at the nearby Baldwin Home. Tickets for the second annual dinner (with new surprises in store) can be acquired by calling 661-3262. The event is expected to sell out again this year.

Local environmental organizations on Maui, in partnership with the National Marine Sanctuary, are joining forces to offer a free Ocean Awareness Training certification course to the community and commercial marine tour operators. 

The course will be offered May 3-20 with classes from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays in Kihei at the Sanctuary Learning Center, and Tuesdays and Thursdays in Lahaina at a location to be determined.

After completing all six courses, participants will receive a CORAL (Care of our Ocean, Reefs and Animal Life) Card certification that demonstrates ocean knowledge.

This free training course will provide marine tour operators and community volunteers with up-to-date knowledge and interpretive skills to properly educate visitors about Hawaii’s unique marine environment.

Interactive workshops are designed to provide outreach tools and resources, and will cover the basics for anyone out on the water or onshore talking with visitors, from community volunteers to professional tour boat operators, guides and owners.

Course topics will include reef ecosystems, naturalist training, invertebrates, fish identification, sea turtles, sharks, water quality and volunteering.

This certification will also help participants meet the requirements for volunteer positions as a sanctuary docent and other island-wide volunteer programs where volunteers assist certified professional guides and owners.

Trainers include Darla White of Eyes of the Reef, Hannah Bernard of Maui Reef Fund, Pauline Fiene, Liz Foote of Project S.E.A.-Link, John Mitchell of Digital Bus and Alastair Hebard of the National Marine Sanctuary.

“The Ocean Awareness Training course was an excellent experience! This course should be mandatory for all tour guides and operators that care about the environment and want to have the latest info about our local marine ecosystem,” said Paul Noble, the owner of Maui Kayaks.

Space is limited. To register, call Tracy Burke at 879-2818, extension 28.