If you’re planning to go swimming, snorkeling, or doing any activity in the ocean, there are many things you can do before going to the beach to help reduce your risk of injury.
Know your body’s limits
Your age, health condition, fitness level and swimming ability contribute to how safe being in the ocean is for you. See the checklist to better understand your risk level.
Learn how to swim
Knowing how to swim before you go to the beach is essential. Having general swimming knowledge is the best defense against drowning and reduces your risk of panicking in the water during an emergency.
Be familiar with common ocean hazards
Hawaii’s unique position in the middle of the Pacific Ocean makes beaches here more dangerous than those on continental shorelines. Learn about strong currents and dangerous shorebreak that you may encounter at the beach in Hawaii.
Learn about Hawaii’s surf seasons
Visiting the same beach at different times of year can lead to very different experiences. Learn how seasons affect Hawaii shorelines.
Plan to go with a buddy
Like most activities, going to the beach with another person is a more enjoyable, and much safer experience. In the event of an emergency, your partner could get help and save your life. You should also tell at least one other person what beach you are going to and when you will be back.
Schedule your visit to the beach during daylight hours
Mornings usually provide the best conditions for ocean activities. Bright sunlight and calmer winds provide better visibility. Wind activity often picks up in the late morning or afternoon, which can make paddling back to shore more difficult. Marine life is also active in the morning, providing more opportunities for snorkelers to see the fish below.