Stay away from Sunset Beach.
That’s the latest warning from the city Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division as extreme erosion takes its toll on Oahu’s North Shore.
The beach has been eroding for quite some time, but for public safety reasons, officials have put up temporary fencing and yellow caution tape around the area.
Ocean safety officials say the erosion is causing its storage room to teeter on the edge of a 20-foot drop.
So what does the city plan to do?
There are two things officials say need to be addressed immediately. On Tuesday, crews will begin work to address the storage room as well as a bike path that is crumbling in certain areas.
A city spokesman tells us that crews will be rerouting the bike path more mauka, away from the beach. That should help keep it intact at least for a little while.
Ocean safety officials are also asking the city Department of Facility Maintenance to bring some sand in to keep the storage room from falling and buy them some time.
“We could get lucky. We could have the sand moving back in slowly and we could save it, but right now, we can’t predict anything,” said Capt. Vitor Marcal, Ocean Safety Division.
The city is considering tearing the room down, but Marcal says that should not be an option.
Lifeguards depend on having the necessary gear that is stored in there, Marcal says, and it’s important to have it nearby.
“We need these rooms to keep our equipment, for our ATVs, for our PWCs (personal watercraft), which are jet skis, for our rescue boards. It’s very important for us to keep that,” he said.
A spokesman for the mayor’s office says the city will take whatever action is best for public safety, and officials will have a better idea of what that is when crews arrive Tuesday.
As for the beach itself, it is still not clear what will be done.
People familiar with the area say they’ve never seen it quite this bad.
“Most of the beach is gone, so you don’t have the same quality of the beach in terms of people being able to hang out,” said North Shore resident Bart Codiga.
“My initial reaction was just shock, because I was super surprised that it could erode this dramatically in such a short time,” said Travis Baker, a visitor from Colorado.