Why It’s Important to Always Respect and Listen to Our Lifeguards
Photo By Adventure of Jess
A couple of videos were posted on Instagram recently of people getting themselves into situations that they should have avoided in the water. One guy who was stuck on a ledge at Lekeleke Bay and getting hammered by big sets only survived because firefighters helicoptered in to rescue him (just in time, too!), and two other guys who were clearly not prepared for Pipeline were trying to paddle out but got told off by a lifeguard.
While these videos are good for a few laughs at the tourists’ expense, the reality is that these guys were all endangering not only their own lives, but also the lives of the people around them, including first responders like lifeguards. This can often be avoided if people simply listen to the lifeguards when they tell them not to paddle out, rather than arguing with them. But we see it time and time again at places like Sandy Beach and Pipe, where lifeguards have to go out of their way to explain to tourists and even locals who are unprepared for the conditions why they shouldn’t paddle out—rather than people simply listening respectfully and being grateful that the lifeguards are keeping them safe.
Lifeguarding on Hawaii’s beaches—and especially at places like Pipeline—is a dangerous, consequential job where people’s lives literally hang in the balance.
Photo Credit to @swellvibez
The first lifeguard on the North Shore was the legendary Eddie Aikau, and everyone who has lifeguarded the Seven-Mile Miracle since that time is part of his legacy. Lifeguards at Pipe in particular have to work their way up the ladder, putting in time at less dangerous beaches and proving their mettle in heavy conditions. Those who have earned the right to guard Ehukai beach are some of the best watermen and women on the planet. So next time you are out on the beach and see the lifeguards keeping an eye on everyone, let them know how much you appreciate their service and the fact that they have dedicated themselves to becoming world-class water rescue personnel so that the rest of us can stay safe. And whatever you do, don’t try to paddle out if they tell you not to!