Skip to content
Exploring: Home » Insiders Guide » Hints & Tips » Water Safety

Water Safety

Insider’s Guide
Hints & Tips
Water Safety
Insider’s Guide
Hints & Tips
Ask the Big Kahuna
Best Hidden Places
10 Best of Hawaii
Hawaii Recipes
Time Zones



Water Safety

Even though various parts of our body are 70% to 90% water, we still need to be careful with the water outside our bodies. After all, water just might consider humans merely as a convenient device for transporting water from place to place. Here are some tips for being in, on, and around water safely:

In the ocean, swim only where there are lifeguards present and/or only after checking with locals about local conditions. The calm water and small waves can sometimes hide swift “rip” currents that can sweep you out to sea. If you get caught in such a current, do not fight it. Instead, swim parallel to the coastline and save your energy until the current releases you or help arrives.

Bodysurfing is one of the most dangerous ocean sports. It requires special knowledge and techniques as well as good physical condition. To avoid injury, seek competent instruction and familiarize yourself with the surf conditions. Bodysurfing near a reef, if not done properly, can quickly become body-scaring.

Always snorkel with a friend and stay in close visual contact with your partner. Familiarize yourself with the snorkeling area and the water conditions. Use caution when entering and leaving the water. Watch for boats and floating devices, as well as other snorkelers and swimmers. Don’t forget to use sunscreen and/or wear a shirt. Your head and back can get very burned and very quickly by the Hawaii sun, if not protected properly.

Shoreline hazards include sea cliffs with vertical drops, sharp reef rock, large breaking waves, and wet, slippery surfaces. Always face the ocean, use slip-resistant water shoes, and use extreme caution on and around wave-dampened rock surfaces.

Marine Life
Many forms of marine animals can be dangerous if provoked or mishandled. Some have spines, pincers, sharp teeth and poisonous stings. Avoid contact with unfamiliar marine animals. Best practice: Look, but don’t touch.

Freshwater Swimming & Drinking Water Sources
Avoid entering streams and ponds when you have open cuts or abrasions on your skin. Do not drink the water without first boiling or using purification tablets. Harmful bacteria, such as leptospirosis, may be present and poses a serious health threat. Be aware that rock and other dangerous debris can tumble over waterfalls.

Tsunamis (Tidal Waves)
Tsunamis can occur at beaches and low lying coastal areas. When a tsunami warning is given (via siren or otherwise), leave the endangered area and follow the instructions issued through the Emergency Broadcast System. If you notice the sea receding quickly or abnormally, run for higher ground immediatley, as this movement is a precursor to a tsnunami.

Besides all that water-watching, splash around and have lots of wet fun!

 Explore more Hints & Tips

 Or plan your dream vacation through our Hawaii Travel Directory: Big Island | Kauai | Maui | Oahu