Oahu safety officials seeing uptick in dangerous trends heading into Memorial Day weekend

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Beautiful weather and fewer restrictions could mean the perfect storm during the Memorial Day holiday weekend if people become too lax.

Whether the plan is to hit the beach or the trails, safety officials are preparing for a very busy weekend and are encouraging people to know their limits and not let their guards down.

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“The weekend is probably going to be super crazy because everyone is excited to get out there and have fun,” said Honolulu Ocean Safety rescue craft operator Nish Nishiki. “It’s looking like it was pre-pandemic so many people outdoors.”

Ocean Safety will cover more than 200 miles of coastline by land, tower and sea.

Lifeguards said they have been making more rescues at secluded beaches and areas where lifeguards are not stationed.

“Know your limits, if you’re a complete beginner go to a guarded beach, go to a place where it’s more protected and where the waves are calmer, but if you’re not sure don’t go out, ask somebody,” Nishiki said.

Recent data from the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Division and stats from the Transportation Bureau found Hawaii ranks second in the country when it comes to boating accidents.

“If you’re in the water be aware, bring your dive flags and be aware of the busy lanes where the ocean vessels tend to go,” Nishiki said.

State officials are also reminding the public alcohol is not allowed at the Kaneohe Sand Bar over the holiday weekend.

“If you’re highly intoxicated simply going into the water is dangerous,” Nishiki added.

The Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) has also kept busy with nearly 30 hiker rescues since Friday, May 14, and has noticed a similar trend; people going off the beaten path without knowing what time the sun goes down.

“They’re not injured, they’re lost and they’re unable to see,” explained HFD Captain Malcom Medrano. “And it’s been happening on the east side of the island where darkness actually occurs sooner than the sun actually sets.”

He said hikers should call 911 and stay put if they run into trouble.

“It’s real important, once you initiate 911 you stay put because we have that longitude and latitude coordinate and we have a general location of where you placed that call from,” he explained.

HFD recommends bringing a cellphone, extra battery, whistle and to wear bright clothing on the hike.

Nishiki rescued two hydrofoil boarders about 350 yards off of Black Point and brought them to Kahala Beach safely just hours after his interview with KHON2.

Over the three-day weekend, Ocean Safety is urging extreme caution when going to the beach and venturing along coastlines.

Officials ask people to keep a close watch on all children in the group, wear a life jacket on a watercraft, carry a cellphone when kayaking, boating and stand-up paddleboarding, call 911 if someone is in need of help and refrain from mixing alcohol and swimming.

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