Hawai‘i Beach Safety Week: Snorkel Safety Briefings on Maui
In recognition of drowning prevention efforts across the state, Governor David Ige has proclaimed July 29 to Aug. 4, 2018 as Hawai‘i Beach Safety Week.
Here on Maui, snorkel safety briefings with Maui lifeguards take place today (Tuesday, July 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) at the Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel.
“We would like to remind the public that ocean conditions can change in an instant,” said Cary Kayama, ocean safety operations manager on Maui and active Drowning Advisory Committee member. “It is important to pay close attention to your surroundings and consult a lifeguard about ocean conditions: If in doubt, don’t go out.”
According to the Hawai‘i Department of Health, ocean drowning is the leading cause of fatal injuries for Hawai‘i visitors and the fifth leading cause for residents in the state. From 2013-2017, there were 383 deaths from ocean drowning in Hawai‘i. On average, one visitor dies by drowning each week in the state. Visitors drown while snorkeling more often than during all other activities combined. Ocean related activities are the second most common cause of spinal cord injuries in Hawai‘i, with the majority of these injuries (80 percent) occurring to visitors.
Other highlights of the week include Hawai‘i island lifeguard rescue demonstrations at Hapuna and a press conference near the Rock Bridge at Hanauma Bay on O‘ahu. The week culminates with the annual Ocean Safety Conference and Junior Lifeguard Championships, this year to be held on Kaua‘i.
The Hawai‘i Drowning and Aquatic Injury Prevention Advisory Committee is coordinated by the Hawai‘i Department of Health and is a collation of organizations working to prevent water related tragedies in the state. The Advisory brings together organizations from all four counties, as well as state and non-profit groups.