Be Safe in Kauai’s WatersKauai, almost circular in shape, is ringed by 113 miles of coastline, nearly half giving way to gorgeous, golden-sand beaches. For the record, that’s more beach per mile of shoreline than any of the eight inhabited islands in the Hawaiian chain. Many are located within steps of the road. Others require a little hiking aptitude. Some are located in government-operated parks with restrooms, showers and picnic facilities. They’re all dazzling and generally uncrowded.
Wherever you go, remember that only a few of Kauai’s beaches are protected by lifeguards. Guarded beaches can be found at Hanalei Bay, Lydgate, Po’ipu, Salt Pond, Wailua (weekends, holidays) and Anahola (weekends, holidays). Unguarded beaches that can be dangerous are Lumahai, on the North Shore, Polihale, on the West Side, and Hanakapiai, on the Na Pali Coast.
Kauai’s waters can be dangerous. People drown here way too often. For your own safety, and the safety of others, follow these basic rules:
• Watch the ocean at least 20 minutes before entering. Telltale signs of hazardous conditions are water moving by rapidly, constant swirling in seemingly calm water and waves breaking far offshore.
• Always swim or snorkel with a buddy.
• Strong currents near shore are the most frequent and dangerous hazards. Areas near river mouths are particularly dangerous.
The Kauai Ocean Rescue Council (KORC) has published a beach safety guide. Copies are available at airport kiosks, at most hotels and at the Kauai Visitors Bureau on Rice Street in Lihu’e.
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