How To Enjoy The Ocean On The Islands Safely

The Hawaiian Islands boast about 750 miles of coastline, including pounding shore breaks, dramatic lava rock cliffs, and Waikiki’s vast, beautiful beaches.

There is magic in experiencing these shores and water but also danger. Two incidents in the past week reminded people to keep ocean safety in mind.

An eastern edge of Waikiki woman was hospitalized after Rocky, a famous monk seal mother who gave birth on the beach just a few weeks ago, charged her as she swam.

John Titchen, chief of ocean safety, told USA TODAY, “I think that’s a testament that you can get into trouble anywhere. It doesn’t need to be Waimea Bay at 30 feet. It can happen at any moment, anywhere.”

He said that many people are exploring places “off the beaten path” that may put them at risk, such as Spitting Caves, a 70-foot-high cliff jump that has killed people.

Lifeguards have noticed more people swimming throughout the day, not just during lifeguard tower hours. Titchen offers these ocean safety tips:

  • He said, “Constantly be aware of what the water is doing in your area. No matter where you are, never turn back to the ocean. The ocean is very dynamic.”
  • Inexperienced surfers should know their limits. Go out in pairs if you intend to venture out.
  • Watch out for warning signs. Signs are warning you of jellyfish or strong currents at some beaches.
  • It’s dangerous to swim with alcohol impairing your judgment and motor skills.
  • Never leave children alone in the water. Titchen said, “It may seem shallow as you wade out, but there are drop-offs and currents, any number of issues that could happen.”
  • Watch out for sharp coral or sea urchins.

The water in Hawaii is also home to many marine creatures. People get excited about encountering marine wilderness in Hawaii’s waters, but there are safety requirements to follow.