A New State of Hawaii ocean security website can help.
Designed to raise awareness of risk factors, it includes information on monitored beaches, ocean conditions, warnings, most injured beaches and other ocean accident data. DOH Coordinator Bridget Velasco said, “Ensuring the safety of everyone who goes to the ocean is a top priority.”
“When in doubt, don’t get out” is the common theme you’ll hear.
It’s easy to think you’re as powerful as the ocean, but that’s never the case. Our advice is to only dive when the surface is smooth and to consider your distance from the shore. The drowning victim this week was 300 feet from shore.
Even though we (BOH editors) are both experienced swimmers, we usually follow the shore rather than swimming straight. Also, as everyone will tell you, swimming in a controlled environment like a pool is not the same as being in the ocean.
Top 10 Hawaii beach safety tips.
Problems can include strong currents, waves, and seasonal variations in ocean conditions, among others. Be vigilant, don’t turn your back on the ocean, and follow these suggestions for your Hawaiian vacation:
1. Minimize risk by being very aware and respectful of the dangers of ocean conditions.
2. Choose to swim at Hawaii beaches protected by lifeguards. Also look for lifeboat station tubing at many beaches.
3. Follow Hawaii beach warnings and closures.
4. Check with a lifeguard if in doubt.
5. Watch the water for a while before entering to look for other giant waves appearing in groups.
6. Review the sea safety brochures that are provided in visitor accommodation.
7. Visit safety at sea websites, including the new one mentioned above and the Hawaii Beach Safety Hawaii Lifeguards Association website. Check for frequent updates on Hawaii surf conditions and warnings for all islands.
8. Understand rip currents and how to manage them.
9. Avoid painful jellyfish stings – read our Hawaii jellyfish update and timeline.
10. Don’t get caught on wet rocks where unexpected waves can suddenly appear. Also look for hidden underwater rocks on the beaches.
Can this happen to you?
Drowning can happen to anyone on any beach, no matter how famous or fit you are. There were 84 drownings in the last year studied. The other accidents were mainly attributable to hiking and car accidents.
Hawaii’s beaches are accessible year-round, so you can always find a beach that’s right for you. The surf conditions change quickly and during the change of seasons. For example, if you visited Hanalei Bay in the summer, you found a fairly calm surface for swimming. In the winter, however, the surf at Hanalei can be dangerous at 30 feet or more. Even one day the surf can start calm and end wild. This can change in minutes.
Some of Hawaii’s deadliest beaches.
Surprisingly, the deadliest beaches might not be the ones that come to mind first. Many drownings occur on some of the softer water beaches where visitors snorkel or swim.
Hanauma Bay – Oahu (pictured above)
Black Rock – Maui
Kahanamoku Beach and Lagoon – Oahu
Molokini – islet off Maui
Some of Hawaii’s most dangerous beaches.
Dangerous ranges in terms of injuries but not fatalities include the following. If your beach isn’t listed, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any worries:
Makena Beach – Maui
Hapuna Beach – Big Island
Sandy Beach – Oahu
Brennecke Beach (Poipu) – Kauai
Laaloa Beach – Big Island