Life Ring Station installed in memory of Arunay, the 12 year old swept away by sneaker waves in January

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Life Ring Station installed in memory of Arunay, the 12 year old swept away by sneaker waves in JanuaryIndia Post News Service

Arunay Foundation, together with Sea Valor, unveiled its first of many Life Ring Stations at Pillar Point Harbor, Half Moon Bay. The event was done in collaboration with San Mateo County Harbor District. Virginia Chang Kiraly, president of the San Mateo County Harbor Board of Commissioners said, this is just the first point. The Goal is to take the project beyond the San Mateo county coast and equip other dangerous beaches in the area. Four lifesaving stations with ring buoys were installed : one at Pillar Point Harbor, two at Mavericks Beach and one at Surfers Beach

The idea to start a foundation on beach safety and install life ring stations came after the Pruthi family lost Arunay, their older son to sneaker waves in January 2021. Arunay, a loving, charming, athletic 12 year old boy, drifted and drowned in front of his family and friends at the Cowell Ranch Beach, Half Moon Bay. In spite of valiant efforts by his family, friends and dozens of other beach−goers, Arunay could not be rescued. A massive search and rescue mission was launched by his parents. Thousands of people from around California came to support the effort.

Unfortunately, even after many days of search by helicopters, boats, divers and community, Arunay could not be found. After more than two weeks of relentless efforts, the search and rescue mission was called off.

“For fifteen minutes they saw their child drifting away deep into the water and couldn’t do anything. No parents should go through this”, said Eric Jones, Sea Valor. Eric has been a part of Arunay’s Search and Rescue team.Life Ring Station installed in memory of Arunay, the 12 year old swept away by sneaker waves in January

The grieving parents Tarun & Sharmishta decided to channel their enormous loss into a cause, which can prevent such tragedies in the future. They launched Arunay Foundation, a non−profit which aims to reduce beach accidents and coastal drownings.

Katie Mingle, one of the many people who formed a human chain that day, spoke about how having access to a floating device could have saved Arunay. “We were desperately looking for something like this ring on the beach that day to use. I think we should get these on every beach in California”. Katie, her partner and their friends got together with other beach goers and rescued Arunay’s mom, his dad, little brother and a couple of Arunay’s family friends.

The ceremony drew nearly 200 people to the beach near the Pillar Point Harbor. U.S. Coast Guard also performed a helicopter flyover in Arunay’s memory and gave a live demonstration of a Coast Guard helicopter rescuing a person from a boat.

The foundation’s goal is to work collaboratively with local, state and national level government agencies to install similar Life Ring Stations across the California Coast. “None of us knew about rip current and sneaker waves. Along with equipping our beaches with the rings, we also wantto educate kids and the community about hidden hazards of sneaker waves and how to identify it,” said Aaarati Desai, Arunay Foundation.

Life Ring Station installed in memory of Arunay, the 12 year old swept away by sneaker waves in JanuaryInspired by the care, passion and concern shown by the community, Arunay’s parents Tarun & Sharmistha are trying to channelize their enormous grief and loss into an effort, which can prevent such tragedies in the future. Arunay Foundation’s goal is to create an enduring legacy from an unimaginable loss.

Arunay Foundation’s three-pronged approach is: To Educate, To Equip and To Inform.

Educate: Our goal is to introduce young minds to the ocean environment including recognition of rip currents, sneaker waves and other beach hazards. While schools train children to respond to an earthquake or a live-shooter incident, we do not educate them about beach safety. We want to collaborate with schools and domain experts to create educational materials on ocean and beach safety to fill this knowledge gap.

Equip: Our goal is to equip every public & private beach with rescue equipment like the Life Ring that we will be unveiling today. Our hope is that in the event of an unfortunate incident, family members, bystanders and first responders have access to the appropriate equipment to mount a rescue.

Inform: Our goal is to ensure people have the information they need to evaluate the risk posed by the waves while they are near the beach. In collaboration with tech companies, we want them to receive real-time alerts about beach and ocean conditions. That will inform people who can then make smart choices while they enjoy the beach.

How You Can Help?

Arunay Foundation is looking for partners in government, non-government and the corporate world to help us reach our goal of zero avoidable deaths on our beaches.

Specifically we are looking for:Life Ring Station installed in memory of Arunay, the 12 year old swept away by sneaker waves in January

-Resources to purchase and install life-ring stations at Beaches across the Pacific Coast. We are looking for partners in local county & state agencies who can drive the effort in their districts

-Credible and age appropriate training material to educate children about evaluating sea conditions and recognizing hazards on the beach. We are looking for partners in state education department who can assist in making it a part of the safety training in schools across California.

-Partners in the technology industry who can make it easier for people to access information which informs them of beach conditions

-Industrial partners who can develop and sponsor autonomous drones which can be used to deploy life-saving equipment before first responders can reach the scene.

We would also need financial support to drive these efforts, and would appreciate any support we can get from corporate entities, trusts & foundations, and individuals who believe in our mission of zero avoidable deaths at our beaches.

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