Maui Lifeguards Taking Proactive Role as South Swell Arrives

May 17, 2013, 11:57 AM HST · Updated May 17, 2:42 PM
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Big Beach lifeguard tower, file photo by Wendy Osher.

Big Beach, Mākena lifeguard tower, file photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

A series of south swells arriving in the islands beginning today has ocean safety officials on Maui taking extra precautions.

By 11 a.m., crews had already made an estimated 30-40 personal contacts with the public at Kamaʻole Beach Park III, said South Maui District Acting Captain Cameron Layer in a telephone interview.

The personal interactions are among the various precautionary measures ocean safety officials are taking as the elevated surf of 6 to 10-feet (measured by the height of the face of the front of the waves) makes its way to the south shores of the Hawaiian islands.

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The National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory through 6 p.m. on Sunday, saying they expect strong breaking waves, shore break, and strong rip currents that can make swimming difficult and dangerous.

Capt. Layer said other proactive measures include public address announcements in which general broadcasts are made from shore advising beach goers of the hazardous conditions.

He offered some advice to beach goers saying, “they should be aware of their personal limits and experience levels; observe the waves from a distance; do not go into breaking waves; and do not turn your back on the ocean.”

While there is a lifeguard station at Kamaʻole III, authorities say the area brought in the largest surf in the south shore district today.

Capt. Layer encouraged beachgoers to seek advice from ocean safety officials. When in doubt, authorities advise, don’t go out.

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