Ocean Safety for the Winter Swell Season

SANDY BEACH, Oahu (HawaiiNewsNow) - With the winter swell season starting to pick up big waves could mean big trouble. Malika Dudley reports on how you can stay safe at the beach. You're at the beach, swimming, walking, relaxing but things can change in a split second depending on conditions. Ocean Safety Captain, Kevin Allen said "It can change from day to day it can change from hour to hour."

From dangerous shore break to sharp reef and rocks, shallow water and rip currents, there are many dangers to be aware of. "When you come to a new beach watch it for about five or ten minutes. Take time to see where you're going to go in and get out before you do it. Know your limitations, if it looks dangerous it probably is dangerous," said Kevin.

Lifeguards are at the beach to help you. Talk to them, read all posted warning signs and always be cautious. Ocean Safety Lifguard Aka Tamashiro knows first hand, "What we constantly stress with parents is keep your kids within arms reach at all times when they're anywhere near the ocean. It only takes a couple seconds for a toddler or infant to get swept into the shore break where they're about to get a mouthful of water in their small lungs and from there a pleasant day can go really bad, really quick."

Rip currents are also common at beach breaks. "All the water and energy coming into the beach has to get back out. You'll see the top of the water starts getting a little rough and you can actually see the water moving out," said Kevin. If you get caught in one, it could carry you for yards out to sea. Don't panic, ride it out or swim perpendicular to the current, not against it. Stay calm, look around see if there's anybody else in your immediate vicinity that might be able to help you out. Throw a hand up yell lifeguard, make yourself visible and lifeguards will be on the way.

You'll want to be careful even just walking along the shore. "As the waves come in they come in in sets as you said and usually you get the lulls in between and the lulls can last anywhere from a minute to ten minutes to fifteen minutes," said Kevin. Just when you think the coast is clear, your quest to get that perfect picture can turn into a public service announcement on what not to do. If you remember one thing, remember this: If in doubt, don't go out.