For many, Hawaii – with its warm waters, gentle weather, unforgettable beaches and aloha spirit – is a top travel destination. But while the island’s superb scenery is a leading attraction for travelers across the globe, their natural, untapped beauty also conceals countless unknown dangers, which can leave vacationers with more than just a stinging sunburn.
In Hawaii, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death, making water safety one of the foremost areas of concern for tourists. In the past year alone, there have been several high-profile drowning incidents where guests were caught unaware and paid the ultimate price.
When on vacation, many travelers turn to guidebooks for recommendations on popular local hotspots. In the past five years, Kipu Falls, a popular swimming hole on Kauai, has claimed the lives of five travelers. The destination, which was frequently featured in Hawaii travel guides until the past few years claimed its most recent victim in June when a 35-year-old from Irvine, California drowned. In most incidents at Kipu Falls, swimmers jumping from the top of the waterfall into the waters 20 feet below were drowned, held underwater by a powerful whirlpool current. Within the last year, visitors have suffered so many injuries at the destination – including chest injuries, rope burns, perforated eardrums as well as broken bones and sprains – that the Kauai Visitors Bureau launched a campaign encouraging guidebooks and travel writers to remove the swimming pool as a visitor destination and asking hotel concierges to discourage visits to the pool.
Another popular draw for visitors is of course, the islands’ scenic shoreline. One of the oceans more powerful attractions, blowholes, are striking to view up close, but have proved fatal when not approached with caution. In July of this year, a 44-year-old visitor from Northern California drowned when he was sucked into the geyser-like spout and disappeared into the ocean at Nakalele Point on Maui. The victim’s fiancé filed a complaint that there should have been warning signs posted to make visitors aware of the danger, however since the blowhole was on private property, property owners were not required to put up signs. The last incident involving a fatality at a blowhole in Hawaii was in 2002 when an 18-year-old from California fell into the Halona blowhole on Oahu and drowned.
Before planning your itinerary and heading out for a day of sightseeing and activities, take care to remember these precautions recommended by TripAdvisor to keep you and your ohana safe.
Photo courtesy Hawaii Photos