As touched upon in our Maui Travel Tips – Water Safety Part 1 guide, before heading out to the water, look for any beach safety signs to avoid potentially dangerous situations at the beach. Here are a few common examples to keep an eye out for:
- “DANGEROUS SHOREBREAK” – Shore breaks are unpredictable wave behavior whereby the wave breaks directly on the shoreline. Such breaks can cause serious injury, particularly to your neck, back, or spine. If you see this sign, check with a lifeguard for an update on current conditions before hitting the water.
- “HIGH SURF” – Indicates hazardous wave conditions which could result in serious injury or even loss of life. If you are at all unsure of your abilities in the water, heed the saying “If in doubt, Don’t go out.”
- “STORNG CURRENT” – Swift moving channels of water which are difficult to swim against, strong currents commonly accompany high surf, but may be present in seemingly calm waters as well. IF you are caught in such a current remember the following: Keep calm, attempt to swim diagonally to the current instead of against it, or simply wave your hands in the air and call/signal for help.
- “WAVE BREAK ON LEDGE” – As a general rule, even if you do not see this type of warning posted, DO NOT walk along rocky ledges near the water; especially if they are breaking on said ledges. Not only is walking on wet ledges dangerous due to their slippery nature, but waves may appear without warning, some large enough to knock an adult down and sweep them out into the ocean.
- “SUDDEN DROP OFF” – Denotes areas where shallower waters may become deep unexpectedly, causing one to fall under the surface unprepared. Additional hazards include caves or holes (e.g. “blowholes”) which, while closer to the shoreline, may still present a danger to those around it due to unexpected drops or spouts of water appearing. Such spouts pose a particular danger as they may have enough force to not only knock an adult over, but also pull them into the hole causing major injury or loss of life.
- “SHARK SIGHTED” – Out of an abundance of caution, signs may be posted when a shark sighting has been reported from shore. For your safety, stay out of the water until an official has deemed it safe to return to the water.
- “JELLYFISH” – While far less prevalent in Maui waters, jellyfish commonly make an appearance near Hawaiian beaches. Plentiful in number and oftentimes difficult to see floating in the water, if you happen to see a “JELLYFISH” sign posted, you are advised to stay out of the water (and away from their painful stings.) If by chance you are stung by one of these creatures, seek a lifeguard and/or medical attention for proper treatment and care.
Stay safe out there!