Hawaii Lifeguards – Where They Are and How They’re Trained

a lifeguard tower at waikiki beach
Hawaii Aloha Travel > Blog > Hawaii Lifeguards – Where They Are and How They’re Trained

Even if you’re not traveling to the islands with small children in-tow, it’s still a good idea to seek-out a beach that comes equipped with Hawaii lifeguards (you can never be TOO safe in our waters). And, it’s a good idea to know how they can help, if or when you have an ocean emergency.

So, we’ve put together a cheat-sheet of sorts for you to consult, as you head to Hawaii this summer. Here’s a look at where you can find Hawaii lifeguards and how they can help if you get into trouble:


You’ll find lifeguard towers and mobile locations at the following beaches:

  • South Shores
    • Ala Moana Beach Park
    • Waikiki Beach
  • East Shores
    • Hanauma Bay
    • Sandy Beach
    • Makapuu
    • Waimanalo Bay
    • Bellows Beach
    • Kailua Beach Park
    • Kualoa Beach Park
  • North Shores
    • Sunset Beach
    • Ehukai Beach Park
    • Kewaena
    • Waimea Bay
    • Chunn’s Reef
    • Haleiwa Beach
  • East Shores
    • Keawaula Beach Park
    • Makaha
    • Pokai Bay
    • Maile Beach Park
    • Depots Beach
    • Nanakuli Beach Park
Here’s a look at all the lifeguard stations on Oahu, courtesty of the City and County of Honolulu Ocean Safety Division.


  • South Side:
    • Kamaole 1, 2, 3 Beach Parks
    • Makena State Park (a.k.a. Big Beach)
  • West Side:
    • Hanakaoo Beach (a.k.a. Canoe Beach, DT Flemming Beach Park)
  • North Shore:
    • Kanaha Beach Park
    • HA Baldwin Beach Park,
    • Hookipa Beach Park
  • East Side:
    • Hana Bay (Fridays during Summer and Winter Pals Program days only)

Big Island

  • Pohoiki Beach
  • Ahalanui Park
  • Leleiwi Beach Park
  • Carlsmith Beach Park
  • Richardson Ocean Park
  • Onekahakaha Beach Park
  • Honolii Beach Park
  • Spencer Beach Park
  • Hapuna Beach Park
  • Kahaluu Beach Park
  • White Sands Beach Park
There are so many beaches in Hawaii that have lifeguard stands, it’s easy to stay safe. If you have young children or aren’t a strong swimmer, it’s highly suggested you limit your beach activity to those with lifeguards.


  • Kekaha Beach Park
  • Salt Pond Beach Park
  • Poipu Beach Park
  • Lydgate Pond
  • Lydgate Beach
  • Kealia Beach Park
  • Anahola Beach Park
  • Hanalei Bay
  • Haena Beach Park

Now that you know where to find lifeguards, here’s how they can help if you need one!

On Oahu, Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division (OSLS) provides ocean safety services for 198 miles of Oahu’s coastline. Services include:

  • Ocean rescue prevention
  • Ocean rescue
  • Emergency medical first response
  • Dispatched mobile patrol
  • Education
  • Injury prevention programs related to ocean safety.

Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services’ (OSLS) mission is to act as the primary responder for emergencies on the beaches and in the near shore waters for the island of Oahu.  Near shore waters extend from the shore line to one mile off shore where the vast majority of ocean recreation activities takes place. Each district utilizes both tower and mobile patrol/response services to provide ocean safety services for the geographical district.

Tower-based service provides constant vigilance, land and ocean prevention services, emergency medical first response, and ocean rescue at specific beach locations within the District. Mobile patrol/response units, some which are equipped with personal watercraft, are utilized to provide periodic vigilance, land/ocean prevention services (ocean prevention services are extended off shore by use of rescue craft), observed and dispatched emergency medical first response both on the land and in the waters and observed and dispatched ocean rescue services.

On Maui, Ocean Safety Officers (OSO), or lifeguards, are on duty every day from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm. And, all OSO are trained above and beyond Unites States Lifesaving Association (USLA) certification and all are certified in American Heart Association (AHA) CPR for Health Care Provider and Emergency Medical Responder (EMR). Each OSO is skilled in rescue techniques using equipment such as rescue boards, tubes and fins, jet skis, four-wheel drive ATV’s, and first aid supplies.

And, just an FYI: When booking a tour that involves any sort of water, such as Maui Scuba Diving, a Big Island Dolphin Swim, or an inter-island Lanai Boat Tour, your guides are essentially your “lifeguards” for the day. So, make sure you learn about the guides’ qualifications and safety experience.

It’s a smart move to always find a beach where there are lifeguards present, and now you know why. They’re experienced, qualified, and ready to help. So, happy (and safe) swimming!

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