Maui Discussion

Ask the Mayor: Why no Lifeguards at Puʻu Kekaʻa “Black Rock”

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Puʻu Kekaʻa "Black Rock". Maui Now graphic.

Puʻu Kekaʻa “Black Rock”. Maui Now graphic.

The mayor answers questions from the public in this series.

By Mayor Alan Arakawa

Q: Why are there no lifeguards at Black Rock? With the number of incidents there, it seems worth looking into.

Although the incidents at Black Rock appear to be more medically related than water-related, the victims’ chance for survival would be greatly increased with a trained first responder at that location.


A: There are no County lifeguards at Puʻu Kekaʻa “Black Rock” because it is a non-County beach.

This popular spot is privately owned above the high water mark on the shore and managed and overseen by the state ocean-side of the high water mark.

Maui County provides lifeguards at county beaches such as DT Fleming, Hanakaʻōʻō “Canoe Beach”, Kamaʻole I, II and III, Kanahā, Baldwin and Hoʻokipa. The exception is Mākena Beach, where the state, under a contract, provides funding to Maui County to staff two lifeguard towers.

That being said, the county is currently meeting with state and Kāʻanapali Resort officials to work toward establishing a contract similar to the one for Mākena Beach, to allow for a state-funded lifeguard tower near Black Rock with a land easement provided by the land owner.


Ocean safety continues to be an important issue as many of our visitors have limited experience in Hawaiʻi’s ocean conditions. The County is working with community partners to create an up-to-date ocean safety video that can be shown in the baggage claim area of the Kahului Airport, and in-flight as various carriers will allow.

Our goal is to equip visitors with the information and education they need to stay safe in our waters, and to support efforts to place warning signs, buoys, rescue tubes and other safety devices at unguarded beaches, as well as educational brochures in hotel rooms and at concierge desks.

The Hawaiian Lifeguard Association maintains a website that can help educate guests and residents alike, with real-time conditions, listings of recommended and lifeguarded beaches, hazard ratings of the various beaches and shorelines, as well as any active alerts and beach closures on each island.

Visit to learn more.


Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: [email protected], phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.



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