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Ocean Safety Tips: How to Spot Drowning.

With summer in full swing, and families heading out to Kaua'i, I feel it's important for you to know your limits, travel in pairs and be able to spot danger signs, so you can have a vacation full of fun memories and avoid a preventable tragedy.

As you know, Kaua'i Beaches have lots to offer; swimming, snorkeling, surfing, boogie/body boarding, sunbathing, etc... but it's also the time that North Shore surfers flock to the South Side as the surf comes up and we want you to be aware of currents and warning signs.

First rule of thumb... know your limits! If you have not swam in an ocean before or are not comfortable in the water, please look for Lifeguarded Beaches:

  • Anahola Beach

  • Poipu Beach

  • Lydgate Beach

  • Kealia Beach

  • Makua Beach

  • Hanalei Bay Beach

  • Haena Beach

Second Rule: Know your surroundings! Be aware of warning signs about currents and/or wildlife sightings, and other water advisories. A good rule of thumb is if you see locals in the water, your good, if we get out... there is probably a reason.

Third Rule: BE RESPECTFUL! We are very protective of our reefs and wildlife; the ocean belongs to all of us and in return we are mindful of protecting it. Please do not walk on reef, disturb animals and of course clean up after yourselves. There is also no glass containers or smoking allowed on public beaches. Please Kokua.

DROWNING SIGNS: Please be aware of your keiki (children) and others in your party. Many drownings happen in front of parents who are unaware of the signs. Be diligent, set rules and be prepared to help.

(Adopted from: Menomonie Fire Department)

This is what drowning REALLY looks like:

1) It’s SILENT. No splashes. No screams. They are trying to breathe and can’t make noises.

2) It’s FAST! It takes 20-60 seconds.

3) There is no jumping out of the water or arms flailing around. It happens almost entirely under water.

4) Their head will be arched up, attempting to reach the surface to breathe. They may bob up and down just at the surface for a little while and this can look like doggy paddling/playing.

5) Under the water, they are in a vertical, up and down position and their arms and legs are cycling as if they are trying to climb a ladder.

6) They can’t move forward much, if at all… not enough to get to safety.

7) They can be right next to the wall or an exit and still not be able to reach it… and they will drown inches away from safety.

8) They can be in water shallow enough for them to stand in but not realize they can simply stand up, as they are in panic mode.

Learn to spot drowning. You just might save a little life!!

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