Are you planning an adventure vacation to Hawaii? It is important that
you are aware of the possible dangers and that you are prepared should
an accident occur. Unfortunately, there are thousands of Hawaiian visitors
who are hospitalized every year after a serious injury or illness. Just
under 60 tourists die while visiting the islands every year, and over
7,000 seek emergency room treatment. You owe it to yourself and your family
to read these important safety tips if you are planning an adventure vacation
to reduce the risk of an accident, illness or death.
Tip #1: Watch Where You Walk
Many locations on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii and Kauai have frequent rains, leading
to standing pools of water. Slip and fall accidents are responsible for
the highest number of serious injuries to visitors to the state. It is
vital that you are careful to avoid the risk of a slip and fall. Most
injuries in fall accidents are not caused by a dramatic fall off one of
the many cliffs on the islands, but rather a slip and fall in an ordinary
location such as sidewalk, store, at a resort or on a trail or other location.
Tip # 2: Watch Where You Eat
One of Hawaii's greatest gifts is the abundant variety of seafood.
Those who enjoy eating seafood take advantage of the range of delicious
fresh seafood preparations when visiting the state. Where you eat is important,
however. Seafood can be contaminated by bacteria, toxins or parasites
that can lead to serious illness or death. If you get a seafood dish that
does not taste or smell right, then don't eat it. The risks to your
health are far too high. Every Hawaiian restaurant has access to the freshest
seafood, and there is no reason to serve anything less than the best.
If you suffer from symptoms of food poisoning, go to the emergency department
of the closest hospital immediately.
Here are the symptoms to watch for and the type of infection or exposure
to parasites or toxins to be alert to:
Tip # 3: Heed All Beach Warnings
The beaches and other natural locations throughout Hawaii are exceptionally
beautiful, but also dangerous. If a location is hazardous to visitors,
signs are posted. Don't ignore them! Many visitors are injured or
killed in some of the most commonly visited natural attractions. Read
the warning signs and be alert, as one large wave can sweep an area that
looks safe when you arrive. Rip currents can make it difficult for a swimmer
to return to shore. Various sea creatures can cause painful injuries.
Get educated and share information with your friends and family. Eighty-six
percent of the drownings for non-residents occur in the ocean.
Ten-Year Rate of Ocean Drownings in Hawaii, by Island
Tip # 4: Be Prepared When You Hike
There are several very famous and beautiful hikes for adventurers to Hawaii.
You need to be prepared when you decide to go on any hiking adventure.
Wear comfortable shoes so your feet don't blister. Carry as much water
and light food as you can. Put on sunscreen and bring some with you. Every
year, several tourists suffer from exposure or are injured because they
were unprepared for the difficulty of the hike, the heat, the length of
the hike, dangers in the environment, dehydration, exposure or other threats
Tip # 5: Some of Those Bugs Bite
One of the most dangerous Hawaiian insects is the centipede. A sting can
mean a trip to the emergency ward. Check your shoes before you put them
on, as centipedes like to hide in dark places. Those on an adventure vacation
are more likely to run into centipedes, as hotels and resorts spray for
insects. On a jungle hike or when camping, you have a much higher risk
of a centipede bite. Hawaii also has scorpions on the dryer side of the
islands so watch where you walk. Be alert to the various insects and always
check clothing and shoes before you put them on.
Tip # 6: Hawaiian Sun: It Burns Better Than the Rest
Wear sunblock at all times. Serious sunburns are dangerous and can lead
to skin infections and scarring. It is nice to have a golden tan, but
Hawaii has a UV index of 14+ every day, higher than in any state. The
constant winds make it seem cooler. Protect your skin from burns, as serious
sunburns are common, and can make your adventure vacation a nightmare
where you are forced to stay indoors while you recover.
Tip # 7: Water Safety is Key
Rip currents, sharp coral, stinging jellyfish and sea urchins all pose
a risk to swimmers. It is important that you don't swim alone, and
that you educate yourself on the various creatures that can be dangerous
to swimmers and beachgoers. Read all posted signs before you enter the
water. Rip currents can be deadly. If you are at a remote beach on a Hawaiian
adventure, be educated on the risks. Should one of your party be injured,
you need to know what to do and taking basic lifesaving classes before
you go to Hawaii will keep your entire party safer. If you are taking
part in a water sport such as snorkeling or scuba driving as part of a
group led by an adventure outfitter, the outfitter may be held legally
responsible if an tourist's injury was caused by the outfitter's
disregard for safety.
Source: Hawaii Department of Health: http://health.hawaii.gov/injuryprevention/files/2013/10/2013-Drowning-Conf.-Visitor-Safety-How-are-we-doing.pdf
Tip # 8: Where to Go and Where Not to Go
If you are traipsing through the wilderness and see a sign on the trail
that says "Kapu," do not enter that area - it is private or
off-limits. If a trail is marked as closed, do not proceed on it. It is
closed for a reason. It is important that you explore locations that will
not put you or anyone in your party at risk of injury. There are dangers
in remote freshwater pools, caves, lava tubes and other natural areas
that could lead to serious injury or death. Walking on lava is difficult,
the rock is extremely sharp and a fall can lead to deep cuts and abrasions.
The warm and humid weather conditions in Hawaii make it more likely that
a cut or abrasion can become seriously infected.
Tip # 9: Stay in Contact
Make sure someone knows where you are going, how long you plan to stay
and that you have an arrangement to stay in contact. If no one knows you
are lost, a search won't be initiated. Take extra batteries for your
cellphone and keep them safe.
Tip # 10: Carry Basic First Aid Supplies
Carry bandages, disinfectant and other basic first aid supplies with you
when you go. Your pack is heavy, but adding these items can save a life.
Get educated on various lifesaving techniques so you are prepared, including
the application of a tourniquet, how to dress wounds, how to handle infections,
as well as lifesaving techniques for water accidents. You are in control,
and you can make a difference to everyone if you are prepared for any
If you have been injured or someone you loved has suffered a serious injury
or died while on a Hawaiian adventure holiday, contact
Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner, a personal injury law firm that provides counsel to visitors and residents