In an effort to help prevent drownings among Hawaii’s visitors, the city is now airing 25-second public service announcements on Real Hawaii TV in 25,000 hotel rooms on Oahu.
The four videos are short and snappy, featuring various scenarios and catchy tips like: “When in doubt, don’t go out” and “Snorkel with a buddy.”
In one, lifeguards perform CPR on an individual, with the message that using a lifeguarded beach can save your life. In another, a couple taking a selfie along a shoreline is hit by a wave. The tip: “Never turn your back to the ocean.”
All of them remind viewers to respect the ocean and know one’s limits.
Colin Yamamoto, Maui Ocean Safety Chief, said: “One of the key things that brings visitors to Hawaii is safety, so we really need to make it safe for visitors so they can go home to all their friends.”
He advises visitors to heed warning signs and follow the tips in the videos.
“Media and public service announcements can play a critical role in forming visitor attitudes regarding what is appropriate behavior,” said Bridget Velasco, the state’s drowning and spinal cord injury prevention coordinator. “The challenge is to counter an always growing social media.”
Dennis Burns, president of Visitor Video Inc., partnered with the city to produce the videos which have been airing on his company’s hotel in-room channels for the past month. The videos, also posted on YouTube, are eventually expected to be aired in neighbor isle hotels as well.
“We knew we had the media to get out the message,” said Burns. “We know drownings are an issue here and we are hoping this will have an impact.”
Statewide, there were a total of 71 ocean drownings in 2016, with 43 of those being visitors. To date this year, there have been 17 drownings on Maui, 14 on Oahu, six on Kauai and five on the Big Island.
Links to the videos: