Maui Snorkeling Safety – Rip Currents
Anytime you enter the ocean there are hazards. Knowing what they are and how to manage them can reduce your risk. Be smart, play it safe, and use good judgment. Also recognize the single biggest danger while swimming or snorkeling in Maui is drowning.
Rip Currents: Rip currents are the number one danger at the beach, but they don’t have to be. If you understand their nature and what to do if you get caught in one, you can manage the situation and return to shore or await rescue.
A rip current is a powerful channel of water that flows swiftly from the beach out toward sea. They usually develop along low spots of the shoreline. Instead of a wave simply receding like it does on a flat or protected beach, water naturally flows toward this low point. As water accumulates it gains speed and force and upon reaching the low spot it funnels into a channel as it flows back out to sea. Fortunately, rip currents tend to be fairly narrow and dissipate as they move away from shore. If you're ever caught in a rip current remember:
Don't Panic and Don't Fight It!
Recognize a rip for what it is and “go with the flow” and/or swim parallel along the beach to get yourself out of the current. Remember as a rip current moves away from the beach it will dissipate and you can escape it. Most rips usually diminish within a few hundred feet. The flow of a rip can be powerful and trying to swim against it can lead to panic and exhaustion. Instead, save your energy, keep your wits about you, and know that your fins provide a major safety advantage. If you stay calm and think logically you will have no problem returning to shore.
For more safety tips and a guide to all the best snorkel spots on Maui, pick up a copy of Mask, Fins, & Snorkel: The Adventure Guide to Maui's Best Snorkeling.