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8 tips to prevent drowning on your Hawaii vacation

8 tips to prevent drowning on your Hawaii vacation

November 7, 2014

A beautiful vacation in Hawaii can turn into a nightmare if a loved one drowns or has a near-drowning accident. Our beautiful beaches attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, but the surprising fact is that one of our most popular destinations, Hanauma Bay, is the number one location for drowning deaths in Hawaii. Death by drowning is the top cause of death for visitors to Hawaii. It’s also the fifth most common cause of death for residents, with an average of 83% of all drownings taking place in the ocean.

Near Drownings and Spinal Cord Injuries

Near-drowning accidents are the cause of nearly half of the hospitalizations for non-fatal injuries. Ocean activities are the leading causes of spinal cord injuries in Hawaii, with body surfing, body boarding and being tossed by a wave ranking as the most common. Striking your head on the ocean floor while boogie boarding or body surfing is the second most common reason for tourists to be hospitalized in Hawaii.

Hawaii Beaches Most Known for Drownings

There are several areas on each island that have a high incidence of drowning accidents. Visitors account for the majority of drowning deaths. But many residents also drown each year. The lists give an overview of the most dangerous beaches in the state, based upon the frequency of drowning cases over the period of 2003 to 2012.

Number of Drowning Deaths by Activity and Island

Resident vs. Tourist Drownings by Island

The statistics collected by Health Hawaii from 2003-2012 show the percentage of visitors/residents that drown on each island. In Hawaii County and Oahu, residents are statistically at a higher risk of drowning, while on Maui and Kauai, non-residents die at a far higher numbers than locals.

Pool Drowning Cases in Hawaii

According to the Insurance Journal, Hawaii ranks second among states in the rate of pool drowning deaths. The dangers to both tourists and locals are significantly higher than in most states. Many drowning cases occur in hotel or resort pools, as well as in backyard pools. Cases involving children who drown while visiting another home, or cases in which a person who dies while visiting a hotel or resort in Hawaii, could allow for legal action to be taken to recover compensation for the family. These cases are termed premises liability claims. It is important that a visitor or resident who has lost a loved one obtain the representation of a Hawaii premises liability attorney so that justice can be sought in the form of compensation.

8 Tips To Prevent Drowning: What Can You Do To Keep Your Family Safe?

Whether you are a visitor to Hawaii or resident, some basics of water safety can help protect those you love from injury or death by drowning.

  • Obey all posted warning signs. They are there for a reason – there are dangers.

  • Don’t swim at remote beaches.
  • Read the safety information on the various beaches available from state authorities before venturing out, found at
  • Always wear a flotation device while on a watercraft. Use a device that allows a child or adult to float face-up in water when unconscious. Choose high buoyancy models.
  • Have your children practice wearing the flotation device, as children can struggle in the water, making the device less effective. Practicing being in the water with the device can be a powerful safety measure that can help keep your children safer.
  • Only visit beaches with lifeguards on duty. Even with posted safety personnel at a beach, do not assume your family is safe from drowning. Remain alert and use the buddy system when swimming in the ocean or resort pool.
  • Keep your family informed about how to escape a rip current, and to swim parallel with the shore and escape the current, and then return to shore.
  • Don’t drink alcohol if you plan to swim in a resort pool or the ocean. Alcohol is one of the factors in about 80% of all accidents.

The Pursuit of Justice in Drowning Cases in Hawaii

If you have lost a loved one or your family member has been seriously or catastrophically injured in an accident on the water, it’s important to speak with a lawyer to understand your legal options. Then you can make an informed decision with your family’s future in mind.

At Leavitt Yamane & Soldner, our legal team has more than 100 years of shared experience, and we have taken on difficult premises liability cases and won. Whether the drowning took place at a resort, a backyard pool or in the ocean, you deserve to have the facts in the case reviewed to determine if a legal action could be successful. Our firm offers a free case evaluation to assist you, and you can contact the firm by phone, or by accessing our free online case evaluation form. We are ready to help you and your family pursue justice.


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