Have you ever experienced a rip current in Hawaii? Let’s learn about these dangers that lurk in our waters, and how you can stay as safe as possible.
There’s nothing more relaxing and rejuvenating than swimming in Hawaii’s crystal blue ocean. But, beneath the waves are powerful forces that could be dangerous, especially for visitors who are unfamiliar with Hawaii’s waters.
What is a Rip Current?
Most experts consider rip currents as the beach’s number one killer, causing around 100 fatalities each year. But what is a rip current? And what makes them such a scary force in Hawaii?
Rip currents in Hawaii occur when water rushes through a low point in a sandbar. Waves will keep pushing more water between the sandbar and the beach, meaning the rip current may continue for a few minutes or even several hours.
So, some Hawaii rip currents are a temporary force, while others are mainstays in an area.
Typically, the rip current’s strongest area is right between the shoreline and the sandbar opening. But it will also pull in water from the sides.
So, a Hawaii rip current could pull you sideways, parallel to the beach, before pulling you out toward the open ocean.
Before getting in the water, look out into the ocean for narrow, muddy streaks without any waves breaking. That’s typically where you’ll find a rip current in Hawaii.
What to Do When Caught in a Hawaii Rip Current.
When someone is caught in a rip current, their first instinct is often to swim against the current, back toward shore. But this is a bad idea, as the current is strong and can tire even a strong swimmer.
If you find yourself in a Hawaii rip current, swim sideways, parallel to the shoreline. This will hopefully get you out of the narrow outward current, allowing you to return to normal water conditions where the waves will help push you to shore.
However, it could also be too hard and tiring to swim sideways. In this case, wait until the current carries you past the sandbar. Here, the water will be calmer, and you can swim away from the current before heading back in.
If you thrash about in the water, you’ll use up all your energy, leaving nothing left to swim back to shore. This is how people drown in Hawaii rip currents.
The key to surviving a rip current, or any Hawaii water crisis, is to keep calm and conserve energy. Focus on getting past the rip current. From there, consider your energy level and either swim to shore, wave and shout for help while treading water, or (if all else fails) wait for the waves to carry you in.
And don’t try to save someone else who you see is caught in a Rip Current. Instead, call for help from a lifeguard or the police. It’s too risky to swim out yourself. Expert rescuers will come in with proper supplies to save the distressed swimmer.
Additional Tips for Avoiding Rip Currents in Hawaii
During your Hawaii vacation, you should only swim in places with lifeguards on duty. Check in with the guards before entering the water, and keep your ears open for announcements. Hawaii Lifeguards have a great vantage point for spotting Rip Currents and can help advise on how to stay safe in the water.
And always swim with a buddy – it’s a rule you had to follow as a kid, but it still applies today as you try to stay safe in Hawaii’s water. Having someone close by will allow help to come quickly if you do get caught in a Hawaii rip current.
The good news is you’re already off to a great start by reading this article. Now that you know that rip currents are a real danger in Hawaii, you can better keep yourself and your family safe.
No matter what activity you plan to undertake when you’re in Hawaii, it’s best to know the ocean dynamics beneath the waves and how to escape rip currents in Hawaii!