Living With the Ocean

Living With the Ocean

Growing up in Hawaii is different from any other place in America, as it is the only state completely surrounded by water. Hawaiian children are taught early about living as one with the ocean and are well aware of the relentless nature of the mana (power) of the ocean. They develop a deep respect for the ocean and learn to be cautious in the interest of safety.

Hawaii has inhabitants on 7 islands, although Niihau is mostly inaccessible (privately owned), Molokai is very remote and has very few visitors, and Lanai only recently developed hotels to the level that will draw more visitors. The other 4 islands of Oahu, Maui, Hawaii (The Big Island), and Kauai rely heavily on tourists visiting, and this means lots of people enjoying Hawaii’s legendary and gorgeous beaches. ​Most visitors were not brought up with the same understanding and knowledge of the powers of the ocean. As a result, they can ​(and do) ​get into trouble in the surf, requiring the help of the Hawaiian Lifeguards.

Hawaiians often talk about the importance of ohana (family), and The Hawaiian Lifeguard Association (HLA) is like a big family of people that take seriously the responsibility of guarding the beaches for the safety of those enjoying them. The Hawaiian Lifeguard theme colors of yellow and red (the same colors of Hawaiian royalty) symbolize the line between caution and danger, and can be seen as accents on the watches.