Hawaii's white sand beaches and beautiful blue oceans attract tourists from all over the world. While many beaches are perfectly safe for people of all ages and experience levels, some beaches do pose risks to inexperienced swimmers. Regardless of where you plan to spend your Hawaii vacation, make your stay more enjoyable and problem-free by following these Hawaii ocean safety tips:
Lifeguards can be Helpful
One of the most important things to do when you first arrive is to ask a lifeguard about the current condition of the water. Pay special attention to any information regarding rip currents, high surf and any potentially dangerous rocks that are hidden due to high tide.
It's also a good idea to keep track of where the lifeguard is at all times. Always pick a spot to swim that's within clear sight of the lifeguard tower.
The Buddy System
The buddy system can be very useful during emergency situations. Always swim with a buddy, regardless of how dangerous the current conditions are. Children should never swim alone and an adult should always be close to the water to keep an eye on their behavior.
Warning Signs: Pay Attention!
Pay attention to ocean and beach warning signage, placards, and labels while visiting Hawaii - they are there for your protection and may save your life. If a warning has been placed for a beach or snorkeling spot saying it's not safe that day, it's NOT safe that day!
Rip Currents: What to Do
Rip currents can be potentially life-threatening if you don't how to escape from them. Once you notice that you've been caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the beach to escape it and then swim to shore once you have cleared the current. If you cannot swim or are having difficulty escaping the current, it's best to stay as still as possible and wave or yell for help. Panicking will only cause you to become tired and you may be swept further away from the beach.
Watch for Creatures
Hawaii is famous for its variety of ocean life, many of which can be viewed while snorkeling only a few meters away from the beach.
While it may be tempting to touch everything, it's best to keep your hands to yourself. Creatures such as eels, sea urchins and jellyfish are normally harmless unless they feel threatened. If one happens to get too close to you, just let it swim by without sticking your hands too close to it.
Many types of coral have sharp edges. Because of this, always watch where you step. Hawaii's ocean waters are usually clear enough that it is relatively easy to see what's beneath your feet.
Aside from these Hawaii ocean safety tips, it's always best to double-check for, and re-read all signs and avoid the water if a lifeguard is not on duty or if you think the conditions are too dangerous.