Yesterday we told you about some of the best beaches in Hawaii. This update to our Hawaii beach safety tips will help you to enjoy them injury free. We bring this post back to the forefront because of ten drownings on Maui in the past few weeks. Eight of these victims were visitors and two were locals. Visitors in Hawaii drown at about ten times the rate of local residents according to the Hawaii department of heath. Snorkeling is the most common activity associated with visitor drownings.
We are avid long distance swimmers but use caution ourselves. The slogan, “if in doubt, don’t go out” is true for everyone. It is easy to think that you are more powerful than the ocean but that is never the case. Our advice is to only snorkel when the surface is smooth and be mindful of your distance from the shore. Even though we are experienced swimmers, we normally follow the shoreline rather than swimming straight out. As anyone will tell you, swimming in a controlled environment like a pool is not the same as being in the ocean.
Top Ten Hawaii Beach Safety Tips.
Issues can include strong currents, wave surges, and seasonal variations in ocean conditions among others.Be alert, do not turn your back on the ocean and follow these suggestions for your Hawaii vacation:
1. Minimize risk by being highly aware and respectful of the dangers of ocean conditions.
2. Choose to swim at Hawaii beaches which are lifeguard protected. Also look for rescue station tubes at many beaches.
3. Follow Hawaii beach warnings and closures.
4. Check with a lifeguard if in any doubt.
5. Watch the water carefully for some time before entering in order to look for larger waves appearing in groups.
6. Review ocean safety brochures which are provided in visitor accommodations.
7. Visit the Hawaii Beach Safety website from the Hawaii Lifeguard Association for very frequent updates on Hawaii surf conditions and warnings for all islands.
8. Understand rip currents and how to deal with them.
9. Avoid painful jellyfish stings – read our 2018 Hawaii jellyfish update and calendar.
10. Don’t get caught on wet rocks where unexpected waves can suddenly appear. Also look for hidden underwater rocks at beaches.
Can This Happen to You?
Drowning can happen to anyone at any beach, no matter how famous you are or how good shape you think you’re in. In fact, over 170 visitors have died in Hawaii over the past 3 years, likely more than half of whom drowned. Other accidents were mostly attributable to hiking and car crashes.
Hawaii beaches are accessible year-round so you can always find a beach that’s suitable for you. Remember that surf conditions change with and as do the seasons. For example, if you visited Hanalei Bay in summer you found a mostly calm surface for swimming. In the winter however the surf at Hanalei can be a dangerous 30 feet or more.
Some of the Deadliest Hawaii Beaches.
Surprisingly, the deadliest beaches may not be those that first come to mind. Many drownings occur at some of the smoothest water beaches where visitors were snorkeling or swimming.
- Hanauma Bay
- Waikiki Beach
- Black Rock
- Kahanamoku Beach and Lagoon
Some of the Most Dangerous Hawaii Beaches.
Dangerous beaches in terms of injury but not mortality include the following. If your beach isn’t listed, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have concerns:
- Makena Beach
- Hapuna Beach
- Sandy Beach
- Brennecke Beach
- Laaloa Beach
We saw this first hand at Hapuna Beach when people entered the ocean on a day with high surf and red flag conditions. Some people tried to snorkel and were pushed against the rocks as lifeguards came out to help. Earlier this year, three visitors died in one week. And on average, one visitor dies each week here in the islands.
Remember, “if in doubt, don’t go out.” We want you to visit Hawaii again and again!
Read: Cheapest Time to Fly to Hawaii for All of Our Money-Saving Tips
Beat of Hawaii photo.