Hawaii beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world. They are also among the most dangerous because of large waves and strong currents.

Our Goal

The goal of Hawaii Beach Safety is to give beach users timely and accurate information for choosing a beach destination appropriate to their ocean skill level. This website was established through cooperation between Hawaii Lifeguard Association, City & County of Honolulu, County of Maui, Hawaii Department of Health, Hawaii Tourism Authority, and the University of Hawaii School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology as a non-profit venture.

Hawaii Beach Safety provides wave and beach hazard information that is updated every 15 minutes based on forecasts by the National Weather Service. Three signs are employed to rate Hawaii's life-guarded beaches (Caution, High Hazard, and Extreme Hazard). Because conditions at beaches change quickly we encourage you to check back often for the latest information. Additionally, other factors, such as beach closures, road closures, stinging jellyfish, shark sightings, and other events are posted on the site when available.

We want you to have a safe and enjoyable time while visiting Hawaii's beaches. This is best achieved by choosing the appropriate beach as you plan your daily activities.

Encouraged Use

We encourage you to use this site to make an aware and informed decision based on the latest information. When you get to the beach, be sure to check with the lifeguards for problems and hazards. Life guards are stationed at the most popular beaches to provide information and assist you in case of an emergency. It is far better to recognize that a beach is too dangerous and move to another, than to attempt entering the ocean and risk injury.


Reuse of the information on this website is encouraged. We provide all alerts, conditions and hazards via an Open API for anyone to use to incorporate into their application or follow in their news reader via RSS.

Rating Signs & Alerts

Beach hazard rating signs are designed to help you identify a beach that is appropriate to your ocean skill level. The system is similar to the difficulty signs used at ski resorts. Life-guarded beaches are rated based on ocean conditions and known beach hazards, just as a ski resort rates ski slopes on steepness or complexity. A skilled skier may look for the most difficult challenges on a mountain, whereas a novice will look for the least.


Primarily for beachgoers, surfers and swimmers


Approach the ocean with caution. Be vigilant of changing conditions especially at beaches known for strong shore breaks (waves breaking on the beach) and on exposed rocks or cliffs near the ocean. Avoid exposed rocks that are wet from surf. Watch for holes and channels in shallow water. Weak swimmers should not venture offshore as the seafloor drops off quickly and tidal currents, winds, and waves are strong on most island shores.

High Hazard

Swimmers are advised to stay out of the ocean. Currents and surge on the beach are quite strong and shore break (waves breaking on the beach) can cause injury. Avoid exposed beaches and rocky shoreline. Remain beyond the reach of the waves as indicated by wet sand or rocks. Be aware of the variable nature of wave groups and lulls.


Swimmers are advised to stay out of the ocean. Shoreline activity is extremely hazardous and may lead to injury. Lifeguards will monitor ocean access. Avoid areas of wet sand or rock.

No conditions available

Conditions do not apply to this location. For example, Rabbit Island off Oahu's windward shore, has no nearshore rating.


Beach is closed.


Primarily for boaters and kayakers


Approach the ocean with caution. Be alert for choppy seas, currents, and breaking waves. Users of kayaks and other unpowered craft must be aware of strong wind, wave, and current conditions that can carry you offshore, and are capable of changing unexpectedly.

High Hazard

Conditions are very hazardous. Kayakers and users of other unpowered craft are advised to stay out of the ocean.


Offshore conditions are extremely dangerous. Kayakers and users of other unpowered craft are advised to stay out of the ocean.

No conditions available

Conditions do not apply to this location. For example, Lydgate Pond on Kauai's east shore, has no offshore rating.


Beach is closed.

Types of Alerts

In addition to rating signs, public health and ocean safety professionals may issue alerts for events impacting beachgoers. These range in impact and severity from a surfing contest to a tsunami. These alerts fall under five broad categories. The last category, closure, will result in the rating signs to change to closed.

  • Statement

    A statement is issued to advise the community regarding events that are scheduled or can be reasonably predicted to happen that may affect beach or ocean usage.
  • Watch

    A watch is issued to allow time for preparation for a beach event.
  • Advisory

    An advisory is issued when events are occurring that are not a direct threat to life or property.
  • Warning

    Warnings are issued when a beach event is occurring or imminent and action is needed to protect life and property.
  • Closure

    Access to this city beach park is being denied for public safety purposes.