Hawaii is known for its beautiful beaches, where every year millions of people swim, snorkel, surf and play. For most people, their Hawaiian beach trip is filled with happy memories. But every year, a few unfortunate vacationers never return from Paradise. The ocean surrounding Hawaii can be dangerous, and deserves your respect.
Checking Local Conditions
Fortunately, you’ve got plenty of resources to help keep you safe and happy at the beach. One of your most valuable resources is your hotel or resort’s concierge. He or she can direct you to the safest beaches, as well as give you updates on weather conditions, tides and ocean conditions.
Restrict your water activities to lifeguard patrolled beaches. Some of the state’s beaches are very isolated, and help may not be immediately available. Always check with the lifeguard before entering the water. He or she can point out areas to avoid, which may otherwise look quite safe to you. If lifeguards aren’t available, ask around. Most locals will be quite happy to give you water advice as long as you’re respectful and friendly.
Judging Your Own Water Skills
How good a swimmer are you, really? Weigh your swimming skill as if you were using load cells to precisely measure weight. Too often, people overestimate their own abilities. Men are particularly bad about this (sorry guys, but we are). Men from their twenties to mid-forties are most at risk of drowning, partly because many of us act as if rough ocean conditions are a chance to prove our manhood.
Don’t overestimate how far you can swim, how long you can swim, or how well you can handle rough water conditions. Most of the time you’ll be fine, but it only takes one incident to turn your vacation into a nightmare.
Respect the Ocean
The main message is to respect the ocean, and never take her for granted. This includes taking care not to step on or damage the local coral reefs. Not only does walking on the reef damage the ecosystem, it increases your risk of stepping on painful sharp coral or spiny sea urchins.
Many tourists are more concerned about sharks than they are about water safety. Quite frankly, your likelihood of encountering a shark is very low. They rarely come into shallow water during the day. In the unlikely event you do see a shark, keep it in sight and make your way calmly back to shore. Once back on shore, notify the nearest lifeguard.
Enjoying Hawaii’s Beaches
Please don’t leave with the impression that Hawaii’s beaches are deathtraps. As long as you listen to the lifeguard’s advice, most lifeguard-patrolled beaches are quite safe. Beach hazards are clearly marked in most locations, warning you if there’s strong current, riptides or other possible hazards. Pay attention, respect the ocean, and you’ll be able to fully enjoy the beaches of Paradise!
Author: Michelle Rebecca is a blogger and freelancer. She’s written about almost every topic under the sun, and loves constantly learning about new subjects and industries while she’s writing. Whenever she’s able to step away from her computer she enjoys spending time outdoors with her dogs. Follow her on Google+.