Fourth of July ocean safety tips

The Fourth of July is one of the busiest days of the year for city lifeguards.

They’re expecting around 60,000 people at Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island, alone.

Ocean Safety officials say they’re ready for it, but need the public’s help to make it a safe holiday.

“If you’re bringing small children, any children to the beach, please watch them. Never let them leave your sight. Tragedy can happen within seconds,” said Shayne Enright, the City & County of Honolulu’s Ocean Safety & Lifeguard Services Division spokesperson.

This comes just weeks after an 11-year-old girl drowned at Pokai Bay.

“It’s too much to ask a lifeguard to watch your children. They’re not babysitters. They have to watch everybody in the ocean and on shore and that’s thousands of people,” Enright said.

We wanted to know what parents are doing to make sure their children are safe at the beach for the Fourth of July holiday, so we went to Kailua Beach Park to find out.

“(Our kids) are always with one of us. We just always playing together, whether they’re on one of the boards or just kicking around. They’re holding our hand or jumping in the water with us,” said parent Conrad James.

“The water is so dangerous. One minute you’re looking at them, and the next minute they can be under the water and drowning. So it’s always important to keep an eye on them at all times,” said parent Shelly Ciano.

The city says its beaches will be fully staffed. An extra jet ski will be patrolling the south shore waters, while EMTs and paramedics will be stationed at Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island.

“We definitely want people to have fun tomorrow. It’s all about celebration, but we don’t want to have any tragedies,” Enright said.

Honolulu police will also be patrolling beaches and parks across the island.

Lifeguards are also advising everyone in and on the water to not push their limits. It is extremely important to stay hydrated, especially during the hot and humid summer months. Dehydration can lead to cramping, heat exhaustion, nausea, headaches, and fainting.

Drinking alcohol leads to dehydration and impaired judgment both of which can be deadly in the ocean.

Carry a cell phone if you plan to kayak, stand up paddle, canoe, and/or venture out to one of our off shore islands. A call to 911 at the first sign of someone on the water in trouble will bring a quick response by Ocean Safety or the Honolulu Fire Department.

If you have any questions, ask a lifeguard on duty. You can also check the hazard level, surf conditions, and any beach hazards online here.

For more safety information, click here.

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