In the past week, multiple searches and rescues of swimmers happened on Maui and Kauai. Most of these were avoidable. And this time, they don’t appear to be related to any connection between Hawaii snorkeling drowning and air travel.
On Monday, Maui ocean safety and fire department first responders conducted rescues at Kapalua and Napili Bay. The Maui Fire Department said they rescued multiple swimmers in surf reported to be 6-8 feet. That is not a safe surf level for swimming, except for the most advanced. Even as lifetime long-distance swimmers ourselves, your editors would shy away from that. The swimmers were also nearly 1,000 feet from shore, which isn’t safe under those circumstances.
Immediately after that, the fire department received a call to help an unresponsive swimmer at Kapalua Bay. Despite all efforts by rescue personnel and the initiation of CPR, the victim was pronounced dead on the scene. The man who drowned was a 49-year-old Connecticut resident visiting the island.
Kauai swimmer disappears two days earlier.
On Saturday, a 19-year-old man visiting Kauai from Oahu likely drowned. His family members tried to save him. The man, Jaren Asalele, never resurfaced at Kalihiwai Beach. The search continued until dark and for the next four days, but they never found Jaren.
A high surf advisory was in effect for that beach and other Kauai north-facing beaches. NOAA said the conditions included “rip currents making swimming difficult and dangerous.”
Kauai Fire Dept. Chief Michael Gibson said, “Everyone gave their best effort to locate Jaren, and we are sad that we could not provide complete closure for his family. We extend our deepest condolences to his loved ones during this very difficult time.”
Hawaii Beach Safety Tips.
Stay out of the ocean during strong currents, surging waves, and seasonal surf conditions. Be alert, and never turn your back on the water.
1. Maintain maximum awareness and respect for the ocean in Hawaii.
2. Please swim at lifeguard-protected Hawaii beaches. Note that there are rescue tubes found at many Hawaii beaches.
3. Adhere to warnings and closures.
4. Seek the assistance of a lifeguard when in doubt.
5. Watch the water first for conditions; only enter if it’s safe. Ask a lifeguard if you are unsure.
6. Check the Hawaii Beach Safety website provided by Hawaii Lifeguard Association.
7. Check frequently for Hawaii surf conditions updates and warnings. Things can change quickly.
8. Learn about rip currents and what to do if you get caught in one.
9. Be careful about wet rocks where waves can throw you off balance. And check for rocks hidden underwater as well.