While the winter waters may look inviting, they can often be deceivingly treacherous. Strong currents, riptides, and rogue waves are all risk factors that are difficult to detect. First and foremost, you should always swim where there is a lifeguard present. Even if you think you are an experienced swimmer, Hawaiian waters can be tricky and it is always better to play it safe than sorry. You can reference this link for Kauai beaches that offer lifeguard services.
Pay attention to the signs, literally. Each beach will have posted hazard ratings that will allow you to choose a beach that will match your comfort and ability level. The safest beaches will be displayed by the yellow square (normal caution level). Or you can view a real time hazard rating for all beaches online.
Some other helpful tips:
- Do not swim alone – make sure to use the buddy system
- Never turn your back on the ocean – sudden waves can surprise you and sweep you off beaches and rocks, and potentially, pull you out or under
- Be mindful and watchful – ocean conditions change constantly, sometimes in just a matter of moments, pay attention
- Do not fight a rip current – if caught, wave your hands to display distress. Remain calm and try to relax until help arrives.
Most importantly: If in doubt, don’t go out! Have fun, but make sure to practice safety first.