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Beach Smart

SEA SMART: Do not swim far from shore, do not dive into shallow water, do not dive into murky water if you can not clearly see the bottom. After rain many areas will get runoff that could be dirty or full of debris. Avoid ocean swimming directly after heavy rains. Never turn your back to the ocean. Keep away from the wave action. Set up your beach camp well away from the water’s edge. Large waves can arrive suddenly and wash your gear away. Keep an eye on the ocean at all times.
SUN SMART: Most visitors do not realize how strong the sun is in Hawaii. Many people will get badly sunburned in their first hour in the sun. The sun is strongest in the middle of the day, and you could burn in as little as 30 minutes. You usually wont feel the sunburn until the next day. Avoid exposure to the sun, especially from 10am to 2pm. Wear Sunscreen on all exposed skin. Reapply sunscreen after swimming or sweating. reapply every 15 minutes or so. If you are doing water activities, make sure you get a good waterproof sunscreen. Use a gel and or a lip chap stick sunscreen for lips, noses and ears. it is advisable to wear long sleeves and a hat. Wear polarized sunglasses. For swimming most people will want to wear a lycra rashguard. A rash-guard is a lycra shirt designed to be worn in the water. There are now also looser fit woven fabric shirts for water sports too. These are available at any surf store. Most people do not stay hydrated when in the sun or exercising. Make sure to drink plenty of water. Drinking juices and sweet sodas can actually make you more dehydrated.
DRINK SMART: Most people do not stay hydrated when in the sun or exercising. Make sure to drink plenty of water. Drinking juices and sweet sodas is not recommended because it can actually make you more dehydrated. Drinking beer at the beach is one of the worst things you can do. Alcohol accelerates dehydration, and can lead to the early onset of heatstroke. Definitely do not drink if you are attempting any physical exercise or water sport. Better to fill your cooler with; water, flavored waters, Gatorade lite, type drinks.
SECURITY: Theft is a big problem at all beaches and parks in Hawaii. Thieves will break windows to get into cars. Always lock your car, do not take valuables to the beach, do not lose your car key in the ocean, do not lock your keys is your car. I would not recommend staying around any beaches after sunset. There are a few thug types that hang out there that will take advantage of isolated or solitary people. Numerous assaults have happened at beach parks to unsuspecting tourists. Even if a local appears friendly and offers to sell you some “weed” (Called “pakalolo” in Hawaiian) in the privacy of the bushes, Don’t go with them.
STAY AWAY FROM FISHERMAN; Their lines, hooks, nets, and baits are in and around the water. You do not want to be in the water with dead or dying fish anyway. Watch out for divers and spear fishermen too.
DIVE SMART: Dive with a buddy, and use a dive flag on your boat, or dive with a buoy with a flag. All water users should look out for divers flags and stay away. When boating keep a look out for divers buoys and stay 200 feet away, and go slow if there are divers in the area. No all divers have flags, many people rent snorkel gear and swim around the beaches and rocky headlands. These people are often unaware of the risk or boat strike.
SNORKEL SMART: Get a lesson, and practice in a shallow pool or close to shore. make surf that you are comfortable with the gear. Do not attempt to snorkel farther than you can swim. Stay close to shore, and only snorkel in recommended snorkel areas. check the water conditions before you go out. Do not snorkel if the water is rough, or if the water is murky or turbid. You want to have clean clear water with good visibility. You should always be able to see the bottom, and avoid deep water, or snorkeling over shallow reef where you might get cut on the coral. Do not wear shiny swimsuits or jewelry, fish might think it is food. Take care entering and exiting the water. Do not snorkel at sunset or at night.
OFFSHORE WINDS: Take care when the wind sometimes shifts offshore. Blowing from the land toward the sea. Do not Sail, Ride, kayak, SUP, or Surf in offshore wind. Offshore wind will push you and your gear away from the island quickly and with more force than you can paddle/sail against. If you do get blown offshore, stay with your gear and wait for help. When the wind is northeast on the south shore, nothing stands between you and Tahiti should you break down. There is a small chance you could hit Kooholawe depending on the currents etc. People have been stuck out in the water overnight on windsurfers. It is always better to sail with a buddy and to have someone looking out for you too. It is always a good idea for someone to know when and where you will be riding, so that they can report you missing and call 911 before it gets completely dark.
STAY CLOSE TO SHORE: Do not swim out further out than you are prepared to swim back in, because you might get separated from your gear at any time and the wind could switch to offshore. Far from shore is far from help. (Kayakers should take along a phone in a waterproof case).
SURF SMART: Do not surf an advanced break if you are a beginner. There are many surf breaks that are easier and better for beginners. Check with your local surf school, or surf instructor or lifeguard. If you are in doubt, don’t go out. Even advanced surfers will benefit from having a surf guide show them the breaks. Advanced Surfers should avoid beginner surfers. this is only prudent. Advanced surfers should avoid beginner surfers because beginner surfers are unpredictable and will understandably make mistakes. There are usually better breaks for advanced surfers to surf. If advanced surfers do want to mix in with the beginners they should be patient and wary at the same time.
SUP SMART: Do not attempt to surf a SUP in a surf break with other surfers unless you have experience and already know how to surf it. SUP boards are heavy and can hurt people (bystanders and the rider) when they get loose in a crowded surf area. Always use a surf leash on a SUP in the waves (and at other times). Beginner SUPers should not mix with other surfers. You should get a lesson from an Instructor before attempting to ride a SUP in the surf. When learning to SUP go to the flat areas and stay out of surfing areas. Note that some SUP boards are not designed for surf; touring and racing type SUP boards should not be used in for surfing at any time.
KAYAK SMART: Do not attempt to surf a kayak, kayaks are not surf craft and should not mix with surfers or SUPers. Do not attempt to kayak where people are surfing. Kayaks can become a danger when capsized and rolling in the surf. Go to the flat areas and stay out of surfing areas. This does not apply to “Wave Skis” that are specially designed surf craft built for this purpose.
SWIM SMART: Do not swim where people are surfing, and don’t surf where people are swimming. This goes for windsurfing, Supping, and kiteboarding too. Do not swim a sunset or at night. Avoid swimming alone, and do not swim farther away from shore than you have to.  Do not swim if you are cut or bleeding.
Only certain beaches on Maui have lifeguards. If you are new to ocean swimming or want to have safer experience. We strongly recommend swimming at one of the beaches patrolled by Lifeguards. Swim only in the marked swimming areas that are under the watchful eye of the lifeguards. Look for notices placed by lifeguards to warn of different ocean conditions. Red flags mean beach closed. Some beaches have lifeguards but are not recommended for swimming, like Hookipa beach which is for surfing and windsurfing. Big Beach (Makenna) has lifeguards, but it can become dangerous when the surf is big, the shorebreak is for experienced surf swimmers only.

North Shore: Kanaha Beach Park, Baldwin Beach Park, Ho’okipa Beach Park (not a swimming beach).

West Shore: D.T. Fleming Park, Hanakao’o Park.

South Shore: Kamaole 1, Kamaole 2, Kamaole 3, Big Beach- (has lifeguards but be careful if there is surf)

Some beaches are better for swimming than others, and a few beaches have swim zones. These can be marked or unmarked. Some swim zones have buoyed ropes (ropes with floats) around them to designate the area. Just like any beach, you should check the conditions before swimming there. Some beaches have Swim zones that have boat Exclusion Zone, and marker boys that tell boats to stay a minimum distance from shore. These are not 100% foolproof, so do not swim too far from shore, and always stay far away from boat traffic.
For the current beach conditions and warnings go to the Beach Safety Website.

Hiking on Maui can be Dangerous. Beware of flash floods and rock falls. Stay on marked trails, or take a guided hike. Do not dive into streams, Do not swim close to waterfalls (either above or below them).

Hawaiians are taught to respect the ocean from an early age. Their familiarity and mastery of the ocean makes swimming and surfing look easy. You may see some very young keiki (children) flipping over in the waves close to shore and playing like little seals. This may give the false impression that bodysurfing is “Childs play”.  Tourists unfamiliar with the ocean should take particular care when entering the ocean for the first time, or using an unfamiliar beach for the first time. The water looks so warm and inviting that people will jump in without taking proper care. It is best to swim at a patrolled beach with a swimming area, until you get your sea-legs. Watch the water before you enter, look for rocks and waves. Watch how the other people enter and exit the water. if in doubt ask the lifeguards. Do not dive in headfirst (this is a big mistake unless you know the water is deep and rock free). Waves can turn you upside down in a second and dump you on your head causing possible neck injury). Please be respectful of all sea creatures, Appreciate them but don’t interfere with them. They are not there just for your amusement, the ocean is their home in which we are a guest. (Every marine animal large and small has a variety of defense mechanisms, which could injure or even kill you.) Touching them may result in loss of body parts. Having said that the ocean can be enjoyed relatively risk free if you follow some simple rules:

Never swim alone,
Stay close to shore,
Look before you leap,
Avoid dirty/low visibility water.
Follow the directions of lifeguards,
Never turn your back on the ocean,
Stay out of the water after heavy rain.
Don’t swim after sunset or before sunrise,
Avoid fishermen, skin divers, nets and fishing boats.
Comply with posted restrictions, and beach closed signs.

Hawaii Lifeguard's Rip Poster

Aloha, MauiFun 

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