The ocean, more than anything, defines the nature of Hawaii. It separates the islands, it has shaped the culture since our very first residents arrived in their canoes, it provides us with food, houses a vast array of biodiversity, influences the weather, anchors several exciting types of recreation, and many businesses depend on it, including our own. Those perfect postcard beaches draw countless visitors to enjoy their beauty. Considering the popularity of Maui ocean activities, and the fact that the state is currently working to increase ocean safety education for visitors, we'd like to share some tips so you have the best, safest ocean experience possible.
When you're out aboard one of our Maui ocean excursions, your safety is in excellent hands, but we're guessing you get in the water at other times too, so here are our tips:
Watch the weather: Always check the weather report to make sure conditions are ideal for getting in the water. Once that's done, and you're at the beach, keep an eye on the weather yourself. Conditions can be unpredictable on the ocean, just like with rivers and even lakes. Remember, Hawaii is right smack in the middle of the biggest ocean on Earth. These waters are powerful and changeable. Choose a calm, clear, sunny morning. Conditions are safest when the water is gently lapping against the shore, and there's little to no wind. If the wind and surf start to kick up, or the sky gets cloudy opt for dry land. Early mornings are generally the best time for these conditions.
Keep an eye on the water: When people say you shouldn't turn your back to the ocean, they are sharing some wise advice. This is true no matter where you are. Rogue waves happen, and they can be pretty fierce. All you have to do is keep the ocean in sight, at least in your periphery, and you can avoid these waves.
Know your limits: It's so easy to get swept up in the excitement of the moment, pun intended. On vacation, people tend to feel more adventurous than usual, and eager for interesting new experiences. If you feel yourself coming to that point in the ocean, check yourself. Are you a strong swimmer? Do you have any health issues that could complicate your ability to swim? Maybe you feel short of breath, or a little tired. Don't push yourself when you're in the water. Save that for the land, if you have to.
Solo is a no-no: Scuba divers know this rule, and that's why every safe diver has a buddy. The same is true even if you're going for a quick swim. Bring someone with you, at least to keep an eye out from shore. Snorkeling is a lot like diving, so please don't go alone. Even if your companion can't help, they can get help. Fortunately, here in Hawaii, there are a lot of powerful swimmers, many of whom have performed heroic deeds in the past. That being said, it's best if they don't have to, and you can't bank on the hope that they'll always be around.
Ask a resident: Statistics show that visitors get into trouble more often than residents, the difference being familiarity and experience with our environment. Just think how much you know about your area of residence compared to someone who might never have been there. So if you know a Hawaii resident who's had a lot of exposure to the ocean, it doesn't hurt to ask for a bit of advice. They may think of some tips that we haven't thought of!
That should be enough to get your safety bases covered, for now. If you're out on an excursion with us, and you have a question about safety, ask! Our expert crew is there to help you. Mahalo!