While spending time at the beach is one of the most fun (and relaxing) parts of Hawaiian vacations, someone in the party may be worried about waves, sharks, or rocks at the bottom. Here are some easy-to-follow tips for enjoying all the Hawaiian waters have to offer safely!
1. Read any posted signs. These will tell you if there are rocks at the bottom, if the beach has a lifeguard, and whether or not it is prone to high surf. These things can tell you if you’ve found the right beach for you and your family’s swimming ability.
2. Face the ocean when you’re exploring tide pools. Turning your back to the ocean can be dangerous, since a large wave could roll in at any time. The best way to stay safe in and around the ocean is to keep an eye on it.
3. Stay out of the water when bleeding or if the water is murky. Not only can saltwater lead to infection, but blood can attract sharks, particularly in deeper water. Don’t worry about small scrapes that have scabbed over or skinned knees. By the way, Hawaiian Reef Sharks have no interest in people (they have white- or black-tipped fins).
4. Follow the 1-2-5 rule. Spend one minute reading the signs at the beach, two minutes looking at the layout of the beach/bay (is there enough sand? is the wind blowing harder than I would like?) and five minutes watching the water to see if larger sets are rolling in before getting in the water.
5. Stay with people. If you find a totally abandoned beach that is on the beaten path, there is probably something that makes it a difficult beach to enjoy without worrying about getting hurt (such as sharp reef, shorebreak, etc). On a similar vein, locals use popular beaches as often as tourists – if no locals are in an area, it’s probably not a fun spot.
6. Don’t stand on reef. Coral is a delicate ecosystem, and standing on it can seriously disrupt it. Beyond that, you don’t want to get wana (pronounced “vahnah”) in your foot, and wana really only lives on coral. Swim over or around coral.
7. Check the fun-meter. If you find yourself at a beach that has you worried, or that only has a small safe area, don’t be afraid to move onto another beach that has more sand or smaller waves. Having fun is the whole point!