Hawaii's ocean safty guide

. . . With an Emphasis on Beach and Ocean Safety

~ . . . Mai Huli `Oe I Kokua O Ke Kai!
~ . . . Respect the Ocean!





  • Swim in Lifeguarded Areas.
  • Never Swim Alone.
  • Don't Dive Into Unknown Water or Into Shallow Breaking Waves.
  • Ask a Lifeguard About Beach and Surf Conditions Before Swimming.
  • If You Are Unable to Swim Out of a Strong Current, Signal for Help.
  • Rely on Your Swimming Ability Rather Than a Flotation Device.
  • Look For, Read and Obey All Beach Safety Signs and Symbols.
  • If In Doubt, Just Stay Out!
If In Doubt, Don't Go Out!


Aloha! . . . and welcome to one of the best places in the world to enjoy the epic natural beauty of the ocean and beach environment.

Officer and Lifeguard Tower The Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division of the City and County of Honolulu's Emergency Services Department provides lifeguard services at the popular public beaches on O`ahu. Presently, its lifeguard personnel are officially designated as Ocean Safety Officers.

The Island of Small Map of O`ahu - Click Here to Go to Our Maps PageO`ahu , also known as Hawaii's "Gathering Place," is the most populated of all the islands in the Hawaiian chain. It is where Honolulu, the state's capital and most populated city of Hawai`i, is located.

[Thurston & Lovey Howell - Malihini]

Newcomers, or as we say in Hawaiian - "malihini," should take extra special care in choosing where they will recreate or otherwise enjoy Oahu's beaches and surrounding ocean waters. Unless you are very experienced, use guarded beaches and, if possible, don't recreate alone.

Click for Honolulu, Hawaii Forecast Check in and ask a lifeguard on duty about the surrounding ocean conditions whether you're experienced or not, "kama`aina" or "malihini," -- especially, if you're not familiar with the beach or when ocean conditions look rough. Remember -- "when in doubt, just stay out!"

Please Take Care of Your Keiki at the Beach! Please, take very special care of keiki - i.e., children . . . just as when recreating in pools at home, children should always be supervised at the beach and in the ocean by their parents or adult guardians. Lifeguards are not substitute babysitters - their responsibility includes the entire beach.

Click here for a checklist of important information on keiki water safety. Remember " . . . children aren't waterproof ! "

If In Doubt, Don't Go Out!


Protect Your Eyes - Wear Sunglasses!Be Sun Safe and Sensible! Beach visitors who are not used to it, and especially those with fair skin, should use a broad spectrum sunblock cream or lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, or maybe even 21 or higher. (Many of our lifeguards are using 30+ SPF.) Apply it at the beginning of your sun session -- and re-apply it at least every two hours afterwards and more often when you are recreating in the ocean.

Protect Your Eyes - Wear Sunglasses!Don't wait until the day is half over or until your skin starts feeling hot or looking pink; by then it will be too late. The sun's rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., especially during the hot Summer months. And, . . . remember to wear your sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat!

Suntan lotions, creams or sunblocks should always be used on your keiki (children)!

Big Bird Says: Protect Young Keiki at the Beach!Keep babies under one (1) year of age out of the sun.
Use lightweight, light-colored clothing that's opaque but allows air circulation. Always cover a baby's head with a hat that has a wide brim. Be sure to re-apply baby's suntan lotion, cream or sunblock at least every two hours (when you re-apply your own). Be sure baby has plenty of fluids to drink, too -- like you.

If In Doubt, Don't Go Out!


[Sunset Beach on O`ahu's North Shore]


Vaka - Voyaging Canoe We've prepared a brief "tour" for you of Oahu's best, guarded beaches from a lifeguard's perspective -- dividing the Island into four geographic areas.

Tiki Please use the following links to start your beach and ocean tour to Oahu's South Shore, North Shore, East Shore, and the West Shore.

You can also go to the Beach Directory for a listing of all the guarded beaches covered in these pages.




Hawaii's Best Beaches Book Cover
We also strongly recommend
John R. K. Clark's book,
Hawaii's Best Beaches.


If In Doubt, Don't Go Out!


ALL-TERRAIN WHEELCHAIRPhysically Challenged? Several of Oahu's beaches have become more accessible to persons who are physically disabled. To obtain the current listing of beaches and the types of services available please click here or on the picture of the all-terrain wheelchair. (A large text version of that page's content is also available by clicking here.)


If In Doubt, Don't Go Out!


Yin Yang - Click Here to Go to Our Site Map For a view of the totality of the contents of this web site please visit our site index. You'll find what's new, and hopefully, improved! There's lots of information in this web site and some of its web pages are graphics and information intense, so enjoy!


If In Doubt, Don't Go Out!


And, just when you thought it was safe to read on . . .

Visit our SHARK pages by clicking here.


Click here for telephone numbers you can call to report a sighting of large (i.e., more than eight feet long), aggressive sharks in Hawai`i.

[Waikiki Aquarium - A Great Place to Visit!] See several live shark species safely, live, at Honolulu's Waikiki Aquarium!

The aquarium is also just a great place to visit to see and learn about Hawai`i and the Pacific Basin's ocean environment, indigenous marine organisms, reefs and coral, seals, and efforts to save and protect them.

If In Doubt, Don't Go Out!


For information on The Bad, The Worse and The Dangerous -- some of Hawaii's dangerous and venomous marine organisms -- click/link here to spend a little quality time with them.

For the very latest information on first aid and medical treatment of marine injuries, please visit our ALL STINGS CONSIDERED pages, starting by clicking here.


If In Doubt, Don't Go Out!