Maui News

Visitor Caught in Rip Current Rescued at Nāpili Bay

February 4, 2017, 6:00 AM HST
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For the third time in two days, emergency crews rescued a swimmer caught in a strong rip current at Nāpili Bay in West Maui.

A 70-year-old Iowa man was rescued on Thursday morning after becoming caught in the rip current while swimming approximately 150-yards offshore.

The report of the swimmer in distress was made at 10:39 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017.

An ocean safety rescue watercraft from D.T. Fleming Beach Park arrived at 10:46 a.m. and rescued the man, bringing him back to the beach where firefighters checked him out. The man did not require medical attention.

Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said the man was caught by strong rip currents that pulls out to sea on the north side of the bay. “During the winter season, high surf pushes in vast amounts of water into Nāpili Bay. That water ends up emptying back out to sea on the north end of the cove, often times, pulling unsuspecting swimmers or other ocean users out to sea,” said Taomoto.

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If you are ever caught in a rip current pulling you out to sea, the Maui Department of Fire and Public Safety offers these following tips.

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• Never try to fight the current. Go with the current to save your energy, and wave your hands over your head to signal someone on shore that you need help.
• Swimming perpendicular to the current’s pull, will usually allow you to escape the rip current, and then you can attempt to swim back to shore a little further down the beach. Don’t worry about getting back to where you first entered.
• If you are ever caught in a current and can’t escape it, DON’T PANIC. Remain calm and save your energy. Keep signaling for help. If you are at a crowded beach, it is likely that someone has seen you and help is already on the way.

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