HONOLULU (KHON2) — The high surf advisory issued for the State of Hawaii kept Honolulu Ocean Safety officials busy on Sunday, Oct. 25.
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The north and west facing shores were the biggest and most active, accounting for 32 of the 57 rescues that Ocean Safety made on the island.
Rescues started before Ocean Safety lifeguards even hit their posts at 9 a.m. when a swimmer at Laniakea was rescued by the Honolulu Fire Department. Air 1 was deployed to assist and the surfer was brought to an open field unharmed.
Around 10 a.m. officials escorted a boat to shore with an injured man, 45, onboard. He apparently fell and hit his head on the boat. Paramedics responded to the Waianae Boat Harbor, treated him and took him to a nearby hospital in serious condition.
On Oahu’s westside, a 12-year-old boy was injured in the surf at Makaha Beach and transported to the hospital in serious condition.
“It’s been a busy day,” said Lieutenant Kerry Atwood of Honolulu Ocean Safety. “We’ve had rescues up and down the coastline. High volume of people here at our beach parks, on our beach, on our unguarded areas. So yes, it’s been a busy day.”
Lt. Atwood said that the waves on the North Shore were 15 to 20-foot faces, or 8 to 10-feet on the Hawaiian scale.
It’s posing a problem for many beginners.
“Due to the large interest in surfing now because of the lockdown, and surfing being one of the acceptable activities, much more people are reaching out in the water,” explained Lt. Atwood. “It poses a problem for us where we have inexperienced surfers, or maybe surfers who maybe haven’t done it for years that are now doing it again. That’s been a concern for us.”
Ocean Safety is also concerned about wave watchers at unguarded beaches.
“If you are coming out to the North Shore and watching from unguarded areas–if you do get into trouble, you’re going to have to rely on a mobile responder. If you’re going to view the surf do it from a guarded beach,” said Lt. Atwood.
He added that he hopes the surf will go down and become more user-friendly on Monday. He’s advising beachgoers to check with lifeguards and abide by posted warning signs before entering the water.
Ocean Safety reported that they made a total of 57 rescues: 17 in the north, 15 in the west, 16 in the south and nine in the eastern shores of Oahu. Officials reported that they also logged about 5,150 preventative actions.