- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - The state has launched a campaign to inform travelers about a website that updates surf, weather and safety conditions at beaches across Hawaii.

The website, www.hawaiibeachsafety.com, is a partnership between the state departments of health and transportation, counties, the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Posters about the website have been placed at baggage claims at most airports in the state for residents and visitors to see before they head to the beach, said the Hawaii Department of Transportation.

The site provides updates on wind, wave and other data and posts a hazard rating for lifeguarded beaches. It also displays beach closures and active alerts.

“We’re hoping to prevent drowning fatalities and minimize injuries throughout the state,” Hawaii Fire Department Battalion Chief Gerald Kosaki, who oversees the department’s Ocean Safety Division, told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald (https://bit.ly/1SrzGLo).

Statistics from the state Department of Health show that visitors are eight times more likely to drown than residents. For every drowning, there are several drowning survivors who could suffer severe lifelong disabilities, including brain damage.

Visitors are also at greater risk of suffering injuries from ocean activities, such as body boarding and body surfing. They account for more than 75 percent of injured beachgoers in Hawaii, according to statistics.

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