Drowning is the fifth most common cause of fatal injuries in Hawaii, according to data from the Department of Health. About 83 people die from drowning every year in Hawaii and non-residents account for 53% of drowning victims.
These guidelines can help you stay safe while enjoying the water in Hawaii.
Drowning prevention tips
Any activities that involve water carry some drowning risk; however, most drowning deaths and injuries are preventable. Following drowning prevention strategies can reduce your risk:
- Only swim in areas with lifeguards
- Avoid currents, waves and high winds
- Choose areas with good visibility and clear water
- Always supervise children
- Follow safety guidelines for equipment, such as scuba gear
- Don’t overload boats
- Don’t consume alcohol
- Look for warning signs and research risks
Signs of drowning
People who are drowning can not speak. They may not appear to be in any distress. Watch for someone who sinks below the water and then rises above the surface, takes a breath and then sinks again. People who are drowning often press down on the water, attempting to get enough leverage to rise above the surface and may appear to be flapping their arms. Drowning victims are often incapable of signaling for help.
If you see someone drowning, notify a lifeguard if one is nearby and call 911. If you are alone, remove the person from the water if you can safely do so. Before going on vacation, it is a good idea to take a CPR training course and familiarize yourself with what to do if someone is drowning.