HONOLULU (KHON2) — The summer months are here, with it more people are flocking to Hawaii to enjoy their Hawaii vacations.
According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority summer months bring millions of tourists to Hawaii. Many come to swim in the ocean, others fly in to take part in tropical excursions and others come to eat the tasty Polynesian food.
Every year Hawaii Emergency Service Department rescue dozens of tourists who get swept out into the ocean from not paying attention to the current.
Shayne Enright, the spokeswoman for the Honolulu Emergency Services Department, said in general, people who come here aren’t aware of Hawaii’s ocean conditions.
“Because at one point, it could look flat, and visitors don’t have any idea that within minutes, a huge wave can come out of nowhere,” said Enright.
A popular saying in Hawaii is to not turn your back to the ocean. That is because a large wave can come without warning knocking people off their feet and sweeping them into the ocean.
John Titchen with Ocean Safety said keeping track of breaking surf and knowing your own personal limits can not only keep you safe but save your life.
“It’s not a good idea to turn your back on the ocean,” said Titchen. “Keeping track of the breaking surf, the sets, the current, the changing conditions are all valuable skillsets, and this is hard to do when you turn your back to the ocean.”
It’s best to keep the water in front of you, and to know before you go. Titchen said for most watermen and waterwomen, facing the ocean is the highest form of respect. So it’s best to stay humble in the face of such enormous power.
“Simple courtesy and respect sometimes is getting rarer and rarer, especially when surf is a little bigger and more enjoyable but not so critical that people could get really, really hurt if they don’t know what they’re doing,” said Titchen. “If you can respect that everyone hopefully is just wanting to have a good time, it might make your own experience more enjoyable.”
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Before entering into the ocean, especially if you are unsure about the current, Titchen said you should check in with the lifeguard on duty. For more helpful information head to the City and County of Honolulu’s website.