Millions of people call Hawaii home.  Millions more visit each year as a popular vacation spot.  You may be thinking about visiting or moving to Hawaii, yourself.  For the most part, the gorgeous paradise of Hawaii results in memories that will last a life time and a great place to live.

Each year, unfortunately, Hawaii proves dangerous and fatal to many.

Why is Hawaii So Dangerous in Spots and Why Don’t People Listen?

Hawaii is a natural wonder in itself.  The ocean, mountains and tropical forest (jungle, people…it’s jungle!) are all beautiful and mesmerizing.  They can also snatch the life out of you or greatly injure you if you disrespect it, forget about it, or turn your back on it for just a second.

It would seem that people don’t listen to the warnings that are placed on every beach and hiking trail for three main reasons:

  • They underestimate the danger (lack of respect for nature, “I see this done all the time..”)
  • They overestimate their ability and fragility (booze or pride)
  • Ignorance (Ignorance)


Also, there are some demographic information of people who seem to get injured or die for these reasons and in the following spots:

  • Visitors/Tourists
  • Military
  • Young People and Children

Of those groups, it would seem that many military find themselves victim of injury and death.  I always think it is so sad to see a military member with many wartime and combat deployments come back from a danger zone only to die on a mountain or ocean of Hawaii.

I think the military is in a dangerous situation.  Many of them live on Oahu and feel that they “know the Island” and certain spots.  They fall in to the underestimate/overestimate/ignorance categories all too often.

Many tourists just don’t understand the dangers that such beauty can possess.  They turn their back on the ocean for a second and a rogue wave gets them.  Or, they ignore the websites that tell people “don’t hike this trail unless you are with a seasoned guide and are in great physical shape”.

It Could Be Worse

Fortunately for Hawaii residents and visitors, the State of Hawaii has one of the best and most elite departments of rescue and emergency responders in the United States and, perhaps, the world.

Each year, Hawaii Fire and Rescue (as well as lifeguards, police, and helpful kama’aina) save people from mountain injuries, “close call” fatalities and possible drownings.  Many people owe their lives to these brave people.

Unfortunately, they can’t save or rescue them all.

Courtesy of Honolulu Star Bulletin

Dangerous Places in Hawaii

Disclaimer 1:  This list is not all inclusive.  Also, you can be injured or killed in even the “safest” of spots.  Again, nature is unpredictable.  Do not turn your back on the ocean or forget where you’re at any time.

Disclaimer 2:  I am not saying to avoid these places at all cost.  It would benefit you (and keep you safe and alive) to heed warnings, do research and if there is ever any doubt or you feel unfomfortable, in danger or beyond your capability IN ANY WAY, to stop immediately, get out of the water, turn around on the hike and/or call for help. 

Each beach in Hawaii has posted signs that warn people of high surf, strong break, riptides, currents and the lack or presence of lifeguards, as well as your own physical capabilities/limitations.

Oahu Beaches

  • ANY North Shore Beach during the “winter months”.  This is great surfing weather and people love doing it.  However, not everyone can surf and you can get enveloped and drowned quickly.
  • Sandy Beach is known as a great body surfing spot.  The shore break can crush you though and hit hurt you pretty badly.
  • The Toilet Bowl at Hanauma Bay (sucks you In and shoots you out)
  • Spitting Caves, east of Koko Kai (again, sucks you in and spits you out)
Beautiful but dangerous

Kauai Beaches

  • Lumaha’i Beach (nicknamed Luma-die) rogue waves and rip currents.
  • Hanakapi’ai Beach, rogue waves and rip currents.
  • Polihale Beach, same here.  Stay in waist deep water and don’t get cute with the surf and break.

Maui Beaches

  • Makena Beach:  Violent shore breaks on hard sand in shallow water.
  • D.T. Fleming Beach: Ditto’

Big Island Beaches

  • Hapuna Beach:  Better for sunbathing than having fun in the water.
  • Magic Sands:  Surf breaks, rip currents and the unknown ocean.  Catch some rays, instead.

Disclaimer 3:  There are literally dozens of dangerous water and beach spots on each island.  Like we said in Disclaimer 1, this list is not all inclusive. However, these are the ones that seem to be the most search for on the internet, talked about in forums and where more than one person has died or being seriously injured.

In our next article we will take a look at some of Hawaii’s Most Dangerous Hiking Trails.  Don’t forget to like us in Facebook and follow us on Twitter to catch that article when it’s published!