Honolulu Drowning Accident Lawyer
Our Compassionate Attorney Wants to Help You Hold Negligent Companies Accountable
If you’re visiting Hawaii, you’ve likely come to enjoy the gorgeous weather and our near-endless beaches and oceanfront views. You trust and rely on the locals to tell you where to find the good food—and to warn you of any dangers you might not know about.
When a visit to the pool or a tour in the ocean ends in death, you may feel hopeless. You may also feel angry. Any company that provides services like these should have strict security practices and ample supervision to ensure their customers’ safety.
Tours that neglect these fundamentals can turn your trip to paradise into a tragedy. While we can’t take you back to the past and fix their mistakes, we can help you hold them accountable for their actions. If you are wondering how to make them pay for their lack of care, a lawsuit may be the best way to get results.
If your loved one drowned during a guided activity in Hawaii, you deserve justice. Call our experienced attorney at (808) 400-7248 or fill out our online contact form to get started on your case today.
Hawaii Drowning Statistics: Hawaiian Beaches Can Be Dangerous, Especially for Tourists
Between 2008 and 2017, 682 people drowned in Hawaii’s oceans. That’s an average of 68 deaths per year—and more than half of the deceased were tourists. In fact, drowning was the underlying cause of tourist death in nearly half the cases the islands saw between 2004 and 2015.
Given these drowning statistics, anyone who conducts swimming, surfing, snorkeling, or other ocean expeditions should be knowledgeable and well-trained. Thorough education and rapid response teams can help prevent these tragedies. So why do they still happen?
How Tour Guide Negligence Can Lead to Drownings
The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resource (DLNR) began fully regulating guided tours in 2014 by requiring all companies in the business to file for a permit. However, after the initial application process, the agency takes a hands-off approach to management.
Companies can make their own hiring decisions and design packages with no oversight. Thus, the DLNR couldn’t provide customers with safety ratings even if they wanted to. Their only major indicator of company performance is the number of injuries or deaths reported by each.
By the time an accident has caused injury or fatality, it is too late for the family affected. Yet, many tour and educational leaders put visitors’ lives at risk by cutting corners and/or providing misleading information.
Advertising That Downplays the Risks
When researching activities like snorkeling expeditions, many tourists are encouraged to join in the fun—even if they can’t swim. Companies may point out the shallow water around popular destinations to reassure consumers worried about safety.
Hawaiian lifeguards know they’re spreading falsehoods: They usually save multiple snorkelers each day, many in water less than 3 feet deep. By withholding this information, tour companies are willfully letting participants put themselves in danger.
Hiring Unqualified Guides
The DLNR leaves hiring practices up to each tour operator to avoid liability. Businesses looking to make big money often make tradeoffs regarding customer safety. Hiring trained and certified employees is expensive.
It’s also necessary to lower the risk of accidents and fatalities. An inexperienced tour guide may not be able to perform life-saving procedures in time or might even lead a group into dangerous situations.
Providing Faulty or Ill-Fitted Gear
Most Hawaiian visitors don’t show up with wetsuits, fins, snorkeling masks, or other equipment needed to enjoy the oceans. They rent equipment on the islands, often without knowing how it should fit.
When their gear comes loose or malfunctions while they’re in the water, they may not be able to survive long enough to find help.
Failing to Evaluate Participant Health and Fitness
A high percentage of tourist deaths are caused at least in part by heart conditions. Even ocean activities that seem calm and safe can stress out tourists, especially those not accustomed to swimming. Many companies don’t screen participants for health problems or even provide warnings that an activity is physically demanding and may not be appropriate for all visitors.
Lacking Sufficient Medical Expertise or Support
In drowning incidents, the quicker the victim is pulled out of the water and given medical attention, the more likely they are to survive.
Many Hawaii tours take participants far away from land and emergency first responders. Staff should therefore be trained in lifeguarding and CPR as tourists are counting on them to keep everyone safe.
Drowning Deaths Are Too Common in Hawaii
As tourism has increased in Hawaii, so have fatalities due to drowning. The deadliest ocean activities are:
- Surfing or Bodyboarding
- Falling or Being Pulled in
However, any entertainment that brings people in or even near the water puts them at risk. Some companies promise safety while working with careless guides or taking tourists to places that are much too dangerous for those who don’t have experience with Hawaii’s oceans.
If you were lied to and suffered a tragedy as a result, we want to help you hold the responsible parties accountable. State officials and tour companies are trying to get a handle on the problem of drowning fatalities, but we want to help people now.
Even one drowning death is too many—but until travel companies and tour groups are forced to answer for their recklessness, these tragedies will persist.
Did you lose a loved one to drowning during a guided activity in Hawaii? Let us put our 30+ years of experience to work for you. Call (808) 400-7248 to speak with our personal injury attorney and schedule your free consultation.