Sharks are Real. Take care out there. #sharksofkihei

This is Shark Season in Hawaii:  This season is known by Hawaiians to be the shark bite season. These tips are good advice year-round, but they are particularly important at this time of year. 

What you need to know: Sharks rarely bite humans, but occasionally they do, and sometimes it is fatal. Sharks usually ignore humans as food, but there are situations when humans act like food, and sharks are either confused or will take advantage of an opportunity given to them. The best practices to avoid unwanted shark encounter is to avoid sharks that are feeding, and also to not make yourself look like food or act like food.

Why is this shark season? 

  • Sharks breed this time of year, their behavior changes and they are more active and aggressive.
  • During the Shark Breeding season, maybe sharks giving birth need more food and are hungry.
  • Shark Migrate, some sharks come over from Oahu to Maui to give birth. 
  • Because it is the Rainy season, we get more murky water conditions, this is where sharks like to hunt.
  • This also creates conditions where low visibility can lead to us being mistaken for prey. 
  • Whale Season: Because the whales are here, Sharks follow whales especially to take advantage of whale births and deaths.
  • Dead whales are free meals for sharks, a buffet, and whale blood and afterbirth from newborn whales are also attractive to sharks. 
  • Whale calves are also on the menu for sharks if they are unprotected by older whales.  
  • Young sharks are also less experienced and tend to bite anything they can, to test their environment.


To avoid sharks, people should adjust their ocean activities accordingly:

  1. Do not swim in murky water. 
  2. Never swim after rain. 
  3. Do not swim alone. 
  4. Do not swim at night, at dawn, or dusk. 
  5. Avoid deep water, and dropoffs.  
  6. Do not swim far from shore, you should stay in standing depth water as much as possible. 
  7. Bigger sharks tend to swim farther out. The farther from shore, the bigger the sharks tend to get.
  8. Stay out of the water (or get out) if you are cut or bleeding (*in any way).  

Always swim where you can see the sea floor: If you cannot see the sea floor, the water is too deep or the water is too murky. Swimming in shallow water is not a guarantee against shark bites, but it does reduce the chances of a deadly encounter. Small sharks bite too, but they tend to do less damage. 

Best practices for Ocean activities: Stay inside the reef. Do not go out over the edge of the reef. On a kayak, SUP, Swimming, snorkeling, or even in a small boat. When you approach whales you are also approaching the sharks that are attracted to the whales.

How to survive a shark bite: Most people do not typically die from shark bites, they die from massive blood loss from the wounds. Stopping the bleeding and getting help quickly should be the top priorities. Apply direct pressure to the wound, and use a tourniquet if necessary.    

Where is it safe to swim? In the ocean, nowhere is 100% safe from sharks, but to be safer from sharks, always stay close to shore, and swim in between the flags at a lifeguarded beach. You will not be totally protected from being bitten, but you are much more likely to survive a shark bite because you are closer to help. The safest options are to swim in your hotel swimming pool at this time of year. And if you want to see sharks, visit the Maui Ocean Aquarium. 

What months are sharks most active in Hawaii?   The number of incidents based on statewide shark data 1950-2021. The relationship between the number of people in the water and the number of shark bites is not always as expected. There appears to be an increased risk of being bitten by a shark during certain months, in particular, October through December. Hawaiʻi Sharks | Incident Graphs