Since Hawaii is surrounded by ocean, we are always concerned with providing for the safety of those who come to enjoy all the beauty and adventure to be found in our warm and wonderful waters! People come from far and near to visit Oahu during the winter months. Some are here to escape the colder climates where they live, while others come to surf the big waves that winter brings, or to stand in awe of them! It is of vital importance that these waves be understood and respected. Here is some information and some “rules” to follow which will help you to be safe when enjoying the ocean, at any time of year.

  • Be aware that waves arrive in groups, which surfers call “sets”
  • Most sets have a series of 4-5 waves
  • In each wave set, the #2 or #3 wave is often the largest
  • Between sets there are “lulls”, when the ocean may appear calm
  • The calm periods between sets may last 3-5 minutes
  • Watch and “assess” the waves for a period of time when you arrive
  • Look on the beach for the high water mark  and stay above it so you do not get taken by surprise by a large wave set
  • Look for any warning signs posted and always check with a lifeguard before going out at an unfamiliar beach. They can inform you of any unknown risks such as rocks or reefs below the surface.
  • Never turn your back on the ocean waves
  • Never swim alone!!

These words of caution are not meant to frighten but to inform and to protect, because we want your experience to be the best it can be! We want to thank the Hawaii Lifeguards who do so much every day to help insure safety on our beaches! We also thank Barbara Whitman, with Under The Sea Hawaii, for contributing information on ocean safety to Be Our Guest, for use in our blog. With the information provided, we, at Be Our Guest, hope you can go out with confidence, be safe, and enjoy Oahu’s ocean and its big wave beaches! For additional information on Oahu’s beach and ocean conditions you can go to Hawaii Beach Safety. (photo shown courtesy Vince Cavataio)

Mahalo to our friends at Be Our Guest Directory for this article!