Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services

The Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division performs some of the most dramatic and intensive near shore rescues in the world.
2023 Junior Lifeguards

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Meet the Team

Learn about the individuals behind the leadership roles in the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division.

About the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division

Ocean safety seal

Ocean Safety staffs 42 towers around Oʻahu and patrols with trucks, jet skis, UTVs, and ATVs to keep Oʻahu residents and visitors safe in some of the most dangerous beach conditions on the planet.

Ocean Safety partners effectively with many First Responder organizations.

The City Charter makes Ocean Safety the primary responder for emergencies arising on the beach and in the near shore waters of the island of Oʻahu.

Ocean Safety Operations Overview

The Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division provides ocean safety service for the island of Oʻahu, which features 227 miles of coastline. This service includes ocean rescue, prevention, emergency medical first response, dispatched mobile patrol, education, outreach, and injury prevention programs, all related to ocean safety.

The Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division is the primary responder for emergencies on the beaches and in the near shore waters for the island of Oʻahu. Near shore waters extend from the shore line to one (1) mile off shore, and this zone from the beach to one mile off shore is where the vast majority of ocean recreation activities take place. The Ocean Safety Division features five operational districts:

Each of Ocean Safety's five operational districts is staffed by a Captain, five Lieutenants and between 21 and 85 Ocean Safety Officers, or Lifeguards. Each operational district uses both tower and mobile units to provide ocean safety service. Mobile units feature either a truck and ski, or truck only, and one or two Lifeguards and are on patrol. The division's operational hours for towers and mobile units is 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tower-based service provides constant vigilance, shoreline and ocean prevention service, emergency medical first response, and ocean rescue at specific beach locations. Mobile units, some which are equipped with personal watercraft, are used to provide strategic periodic vigilance, shoreline and ocean prevention service (ocean prevention services are extended off shore by use of rescue craft), observed and dispatched emergency medical first response both on the shoreline, and in the waters and observed, and dispatched ocean rescue service (through 911 calls).

The Division is challenged with maintaining service levels by an ever-increasing amount of ocean activity. The increase in ocean and beach use over the past several decades have seen significant increases in off shore activity, particularly with the introduction of kayak rental operations, stand up paddling activities, and surf instruction operations. Ocean Safety has 235 full time lifeguards, 37 contract lifeguards (for a total force of about 287 "Guards"), and an operating budget of $23 million.

Lifeguard using binoculars

Sign Up for Beach and Ocean Alerts

Download the City's HNL Info app to alert you to any unusual ocean conditions, lifeguard tower closures or other hazards that should be known to the public.
Sign Up For Alerts
Lifeguards on a boat in front of Diamondhead

The History of Ocean Safety in Honolulu

See the evolution from Waikīkī Beachboys to becoming Professional First Responders.
Discover Our History
Lifeguard manning a booth

Community Outreach

Honolulu Ocean Safety is actively involved in Oʻahu's school system and participates in a variety of community events.
Invite Ocean Safety to an Event