Leeward lifeguards report busier summer than usual - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Leeward lifeguards report busier summer than usual

MAKAHA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

"I've been with Ocean Safety 23 years now, and all 23 years on this side of the island".  Lieutenant Mack Hall was born and raised on the Leeward side.  This summer has been one unlike any he's ever seen.

"Our beach activity has tripled.  The amount of people that are coming out here, the amount of visitors, the hotels going up" he continued.

More people means more chances something goes wrong--especially in a season that has seen high swell activity, in a region that has tricky ocean currents.

"This side of the island is much more dangerous than it looks.  If you go venturing off to where there's no lifeguards, you don't know what to expect" said Hall.

Additionally, there are fewer lifeguard towers to be had than other spots.

"From Kaena Point to Iriquois point and everything in between, if there's a tower there or not, they're responsible.  We have 8 towers" noted Honolulu Emergency Services Spokesperson Shayne Enright.

That’s eight towers for roughly 30 miles of coastline, compared to five towers for Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island alone...and that's just out on the water.

“Lifeguards are not just busy in the ocean.  They are tending to domestic disputes, stray dogs, public intoxication, anything that may be going on in the parks" said Enright.

The plea from lifeguards ahead of the weekend--be aware, be responsible, and know your limitations.

As Enright put it, "As beautiful as it is, it's life threatening out here if you don't take it seriously".
 
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