A lifeguard on the North Shore of Oahu is using Instagram to raise concerns about the potential consequences of ocean-safety officers generally not working before 9 a.m. or after 5:30 p.m. under their current contracts.

Freddy Booth posted a pair of long comments this week after a a 53-year-old visitor from Maryland drowned around 6 p.m. Sunday at Waimea Bay.

The deceased was identified as Scott Orbach. Bystanders brought him ashore and then Honolulu firefighters took over resuscitation efforts. Waves were reportedly triple overhead at the time, and a high surf warning was in effect.

City and County lifeguard starts on one end of Ekukai Beach fronting large surf at Pipeline surf spot as large waves surged on Oahu's north shore. dead tourist. 9 dec 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
A lifeguard prepares to plant warning signs on one end of Ekukai Beach fronting large surf at Pipeline as waves surged on Oahu’s north shore last month. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

“A lot of Lifeguards are not the type to complain. Most of us are humble and thankful, appreciating the simple things in life and doing the best with what we have to work with,” Booth wrote in a post Tuesday on Instagram.

“However there is a serious problem people don’t see. Our lineups, and our beaches are growing nonstop with both locals and tourists alike. Secret spots are not secret anymore, and spots that never needed towers are in desperate need nowadays,” he told his 157,000 followers.

“Did you know that most Lifeguards don’t start work until 9am and finish at 530pm. Most of us get a full surf in before work and a full session after. That means so is everyone else. Two of the most beautiful and crucial times of day for our residents and visitors to be at the beach go by unwatched and unprotected.”

The notion of expanding lifeguards’ hours to cover dawn and dusk is being discussed, but there hasn’t been much movement on it yet.

“It’s an idea that we’re thinking about, but we’re not there yet,” Honolulu Ocean Safety spokeswoman Shayne Enright said in a recent interview. “Anytime you can have a lifeguard on scene dramatically increases one’s chance of survival.”

Civil Beat published a five-part series in January that explored why visitors die in Hawaii, including a close look at ocean safety and the unique waters in the islands.

Read the full series here.

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