Maui News

Maui Police Issues Safety Reminders for Hiking, Outdoor Activities

March 17, 2021, 5:37 PM HST
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MFD Search at Waikamoi in East Maui. PC: March 1, 2021 Maui Fire Department.

The Maui Police Department issued a list of safety reminders today with suggestions on ways to avoid hazards, danger and injury when outdoors. Police advise the public to be especially mindful of weather conditions and their immediate surroundings.

Maui Police Issued the Following Safety Tips:

  •  Pay attention to weather forecasts, and heed any weather alerts about pending inclement weather for the area.   
  •  Obey all posted signs regarding beach, road, and trail closures.
  •  Don’t be overly ambitious; know your limitations.
  •  Stay hydrated.
  •  Avoid the most intense sun-times.
  •  Know where you’re going. Remain on marked trails/paths. Take a GPS, map, or cell phone.
  •  Don’t go alone. 

 “Please be aware of your surroundings, be it at the beach, on the road, or while hiking,” police said in a press release.

The reminders come following the recovery of a body off Hāmoa Beach in East Maui over the weekend. Police have since identified the individual as a 45-year-old Idaho man who had gone missing while swimming last week.

Police also participated in the search for two missing men who were lost during inclement weather at Waikamoi in East Maui on Feb. 27. The body of one of the men, Angelo Ruiz, 27, of New Mexico was recovered, but the search for the other was terminated after several days with no success.

The Maui Fire Department has a webpage dedicated to flash flood precautions and hiking advice.

Maui Fire Department Advice for Hikers:

  • Wear brightly colored clothes so rescue crews can more easily spot you.
  • Take adequate amount of water and snacks.
  • Start hikes early and know when the sun sets (darkness). Leave adequate time to get back.
  • Let someone else know where you are hiking and when you should return.
  • Make sure cell phones are fully charged and take an extra battery.
  • Be aware remote areas will not have cell phone coverage.
  • Never dive or jump into ponds due to submerged rocks/ledges.
  • Never cross or swim in streams/ponds when dark clouds are on the mountains.
  • Heed all warning signs and do not trespass on private property.
  • Stay on trails and pack out any rubbish. Leave only footprints. Never hike alone.
  • Be prepared for sudden changes in weather. Bring a poncho, jacket. sunscreen, and mosquito repellent.
  • Call the National Weather Service at 808-944-3756, Ext 2. Heed all advisories, watches, and warnings.
  • Call the Maui County Automated Information Line at 808-986-1200, Ext 1.
  • Check out www.weather.gov/hawaii.

Flooding Risks:

  • Flash flooding may still occur even when sunny due to rain clouds higher up in the mountains.
  • Newer editions of guidebooks have many safety messages. Read and abide by them.
  • River rocks can be very slippery. Stay away from cliff edges. Be aware of falling rocks.
  • Better to stay put than risk hiking in darkness.
  • Hawaii’s streams may be contaminated with leptospirosis.

Safety Tips for Ocean Users:

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The Maui Fire Department has a separate list of safety tips for ocean users that includes the following:

  • If you are unable to swim out of a strong current, signal for help
  • Rely on your swimming ability rather than a flotation device
  • Look for, read, and obey all beach and safety signs
  • Protect the environment. Refrain from touching all reefs. Help keep the beaches clean and Hawaiʻi beautiful.
  • If in doubt, don’t go out
  • Swim in life guarded areas
  • Never swim alone
  • Do not dive into unknown water or into shallow breaking waves
  • Do not attempt to dive over large waves
  • Ask a lifeguard about beach and surf safety before swimming
This video shows an area very popular for visitors and residents. Maui firefighters have responded to the area for rescue operations of trapped, injured and overdue individuals as well as body recoveries. Video: Tamara Lovato

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