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The waters of Hawaii are tempting. Very few locations across the globe are more beautiful, cleaner, or wider open. And yet the waters off the coasts of Hawaii are more dangerous than any other waters in the United States. In fact, more people have drowned in Hawaii than in any other place in the world. Natives don’t want to deter you from swimming there. They want you to enjoy the beauty that is their waters. They want you to swim there. But you just need to be careful. The main injuries come when visitors are involved in snorkeling or scuba accidents. Here are some tips and some things to remember when swimming in Hawaii.

• When you are close to the water, never turn your back on the sea. You never know when a huge gust will come under or over you and take you by surprise. Especially when you’re walking in rocky areas, you need to pay particular attention to the way the sea is behaving.
• Don’t underestimate the power of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a great body of water and needs to be respected. Remember, you’re in an island in the middle of a huge sea. Anything can happen–and usually does.
• Don’t let anyone put you in a situation in which you don’t feel comfortable. If someone dares you to do something that you are uncertain about that has to do with the water, err on the safe side. If you’re unfamiliar with the waters, you need to be cautious.
• Watch out for riptides. Riptides are currents under the water that have a tendency of sucking you in. They often happen not too far off shore. And you can usually tell where there’s a riptide based on how choppy the water is on the surface. One rule of thumb to follow is that you should never fight a riptide. If you get caught in one, go with the flow. If you try to fight it, you’ll certainly lose and you’ll just make yourself tired. The best thing to do is to swim along with it and go a bit diagonal. Stay as close to the shore as you can.
• Beware of sharks. When you’re swimming, wear bright colors. Sharks are on the lookout for dolphins and similar sea creatures, not humans. But when you wear dull gray or brown colors, you often can be mistaken for a fish, especially if you’re on a surfboard.