Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ocean Safety Tips

I didn't think this kind of thing could really happen...but it does! While Hawaii is obviously the best travel destination in the world, the ocean is still a dangerous place:

"DISTRAUGHT Heidi Fleiss is hiding a heartache in the Celebrity Big Brother house - her brother Jason drowned days before the show began...Hospital medicine specialist Jason was swept out to sea by a strong current while on holiday in Hawaii over the New Year. He was swimming with Heidi's other brother Jesse, who was saved by a surfer. To add to ex-jailbird Heidi's grief, the tragedy happened just two days before her 44th birthday."

Here are some Hawaii safety tips:

"The behavior of the ocean in Hawaii is unique, complex, and unpredictable. On Oahu lifeguards perform about 1100 "rescues" a year. On average 50 people drown in the ocean annually (all islands), approximately half being visitors.

"Takng into account that 7.5 million people visit the state each year, the overall risk associated with swimming in the ocean is low. Of concern is the distribution and circumstances surrounding many drownings - the majority happen at unguarded locations and often result from a lack of knowledge or poor judgment. Many beaches and tide pools are deceptively dangerous. The same set of standard caution signs are found at nearly every beach, so the signs lose credibility. Of greatest importance is acknowledging that the ocean represents a dangerous environment and that those dangers are very difficult to judge. It's a mistake to assume that one can fully understand and analyze ocean conditions – they change rapidly and are greatly influenced by season, location, tides, weather etc.

"Ocean Safety Checklist:

-Admit that you are not an expert, and do not attempt to be one. Ask lifeguards for advice.
Be honest about your swimming ability. The ocean is not a swimming pool.

-Never turn your back on the ocean. Being hit by a wave while you're not watching can cause serious injury. Waves can sneak up on one.

-If you get caught in a current do not struggle against it. Rip currents are usually narrow, so calmly swim perpendicular to the current direction to get out of it, and then you will be able to swim back to shore.

-If you need help, shout “Help” (and not a family member’s name) or wave an arm to get attention.

-Always remain calm and relaxed in the ocean, whether you get caught in a current, hit by an unexpected wave, or bump into a turtle. Panic leads to drowning because of uncoordinated movement, sporadic breathing, and increased oxygen usage.

-Remember, people also drown after being swept off rocks. Watching big waves from rocks next to the ocean is a very dangerous activity. Know the surf report before you approach any exposed location.

-A current can pull you away even in waist high water."

Look out for jellyfish too. But on the bright side--there are no snakes in Hawaii!

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