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Summer Safety: Stay safe in paradise

16 June 2022

From Ensign Brianna McLaughlin, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii - Say hello to summer! With spectacular views and tropical climate, Hawaii is truly a paradise. Now that the summer season has arrived, it calls for days in the sun and some quality vacation time. The beautiful landscape and inviting water provide many playgrounds for visitors and locals. Unfortunately, amidst all the fun action and relaxation, disastrous incidents can occur.
Although we can get distracted by everything happening around us, it is important to focus on safe practices. Things may not always go as planned, but if prepared, we can deal with them efficiently, and maybe even prevent them.

As the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted on the Island of Oahu, there will be more military members and civilian vacationers exploring the island. Since quarantine and all the precautions were implemented due to COVID-19, people have been itching at the thought of getting out of the house to a warm beach on a breathtaking island. That time has finally come! More vacationers and locals alike will be engaging in summer activities, meaning mishaps are more likely to occur.

It is still possible to have fun in the sun while making good decisions. To get the most out of the summer months, ensure your family and friends are aware of the possible hazards they may encounter they can stay safe.

The ultimate family adventure experience can be found in Hawaii’s mountain ranges. Hiking is a great way to stay physically active and enjoy the outdoors. It is best to prepare and safely hike with knowledge of how to reduce possible risks. No matter the difficulty level, it is essential to enjoy the hikes properly with safety as a priority.

• Hike with a partner
If possible, use the buddy system in case something happens. If you decide to go alone, ensure at least one person knows where you are or share your location with them.

• Stay on the path
Do not venture off the marked trail, even if you are familiar with the area. If something were to happen, it would be extremely difficult for someone to find you. Also, it can cause damage to the environment.

• Plan ahead
Look up the path in advance and get an idea of how long the path will take, what it should look like, and the intensity of the hike. This way you can plan what to pack accordingly.

• Dress appropriately
Check the weather conditions as well as the environment around the hike and choose your outfit accordingly, including good feet support. Some paths can be slippery, so good tread is essential.

Laying in the hot Hawaii sun without protection is hazardous to your body. But engaging in physical activity combined with the harmful rays can result in even greater dangerous health effects. The good news is that being safe in the sun while still getting Vitamin D is achievable.

• Cover up
Although layering up in the heat sounds less than enjoyable, wearing thin layers of clothing can protect against UV rays.

• Shade
Seek shelter under a beautiful, large palm tree or buy an umbrella to reduce harmful exposure to the sun. Wear a hat if you plan on going out in the sun.

• Sunscreen
No matter the weather condition, it is important to apply sunscreen and to continue reapplying when spending time outside. Always use sunscreen certified as reef safe with high SPF rating.

• Hydrate
Continuously drink water to stay hydrated, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Fill a bottle with cold water and carry it with you.

• Sunglasses/Shades
Your eyes need just as much protection from the UV rays as your skin does. Wear sunglasses to save your eyes while looking stylish.

The Pacific Ocean’s name is deceiving, beneath the ocean’s majestic surface lies immense power. It can be unpredictable and very dangerous if not approached carefully. Make sure to check in with lifeguards before entering the water to assess conditions and follow these steps to appropriately enjoy Hawaii’s beaches.

• Never swim alone
Always use the buddy system and check to ensure the water is safe before you or family members enter.

• Encourage your child to wear a life jacket
If you know someone is not a confident swimmer, support them in wearing a life jacket so they will be more comfortable in the pool or ocean.

• Stay hydrated
Swimming and splashing around in the water take a lot of energy, especially when sweating in the hot sun. Drink plenty of healthy fluids.

• Avoid bad ocean conditions
If in doubt, don’t go out. Waves are very unpredictable and can be very dangerous. Look out for ocean hazards such as rip currents, shore breaks, and rocks. And never turn your back on the sea!

• Swim near a lifeguard
Set up near a lifeguard stand and only go out in the water where you are visible to them, in case of an emergency.


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