Kauai Ocean Safety officials say there have been four drownings off Kauai this year compared to two drownings for all of 2012.
The latest incident happened Wednesday in Poipu when 71-year-old Wendy Anderson, of Colorado, had been swimming in waters off Poipu Beach.
According to a police report, beachgoers located the woman lying face down in the water at 11:49 a.m. and called 911 for help.
Bystanders pulled the woman to shore and began performing CPR until rescuers arrived.
Anderson was transported to Wilcox Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Kauai County had 12 drownings in 2011.
“We have great partnerships with the visitor industry and we try very hard to be proactive about ocean safety, so it’s incredibly discouraging for all of us to have to report the fourth drowning already this year,” states Kauai Fire Chief Robert Westerman. “Everyone agrees that Kauai is paradise but paradise comes with its fare share of dangers, and we’re going to continue to do our best to educate the public on those dangers before they take part in any outdoor activity, particularly swimming in the ocean. Each and every one of us can help educate our visitors -- whether we work at a hotel, rental car agency, a restaurant, an activity company or just observe someone taking risks in or near the ocean. The simple act of reaching out could save a life. ”
During the winter months, lifeguards recommend swimming at one of the lifeguarded beaches on the east and south shores, such as Morgan’s Ponds at Lydgate Beach, Poipu Beach Park, or Salt Pond Beach.
Lifeguards urge inexperienced swimmers and surfers to avoid visiting north shore beaches due to the high surf activity and large breaking waves that sweep the shoreline.
In addition, rescuers offer the following tips on how to stay safe while visiting Kauai’s beaches:
- Always swim near a lifeguard tower. If you can’t see the lifeguard, the lifeguard can’t see you.
- Look for any posted warning signs. Read and heed them!
- Watch the ocean conditions for at least 20 minutes before entering the water. The ocean can look calm in between dangerous sets of waves.
- If you’re unfamiliar with the area, ask someone who is knowledgeable about the potential hazards, such as a local fisherman or surfer.
- Check the weather forecast or www.kauaiexplorer.com for daily ocean reports.
- And when in doubt, don’t go out!
“We want people to hear our message before we hear from them. Once we get a call for help there’s only so much we can do to save someone’s life,” added Chief Westerman. “But if we can all work together to help to spread the message and take personal responsibility to be careful and smart, we hope people can enjoy all of what Kaua'i has to offer in a way that is both fun and safe. That’s our ultimate goal.”