The city is trying to make one of Oahu’s most dangerous beaches a little safer. Starting Sunday, the popular Hanauma Bay extended its lifeguard hours. It’s a pilot program that will be evaluated in a year.
People we spoke to say it’s a great idea and they would like to see more. From now on Hanauma Bay will have lifeguards on duty as soon as the park opens until it closes. That’s 6 in the morning until 6 in the evening. Previously, they were there from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. In the Summer, the lifeguards will be there until 7 p.m.
“That’s awesome. I mean in the morning you get to see so much. It’s a completely different vibe from being out here during the day time or afternoon,” said Kailua resident Daniel Bangston.
“I understand all of the different conditions in the ocean with the rip tides and stuff like that it can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing and with tourists just coming out here and wanting to snorkel and stuff, a lot of them I can see how it can be very dangerous,” said Oahu resident Chris Ghramm.
The latest rescue numbers at Hanauma Bay are from 2017. In that year alone:
-lifeguards made 978 rescues,
-more than 171,309 preventative actions, and
-nearly 36,984 first aid treatments.
Ocean Safety tells us extending the hours of lifeguard services will ultimately save lives. Officials would like to eventually do this at other beaches. Something City Councilwoman Kymberly Pine would like to see happen. She’s pushed for extended lifeguard hours island-wide in the past.
“I’m very hopeful that it is the beginning of an island-wide sunrise to sunset lifeguard service times because people don’t just die between 9-5,” said Councilwoman Pine, “people are dying by very large rates. It’s the fifth cause of deaths in the state of Hawaii.”