SEASONAL WIND AND WATER CONDITIONS
Winter is here and Okinawa’s ocean will take on different moods, with prevailing wind and swells approaching the island more frequently from the north.
We will see mild temperatures and great weather through much of the winter season, making ocean recreation a continued popular liberty activity in cooler months. This is dangerous, as high winds and an elevated sea state are also associated with Okinawa’s winter. Ocean related mishaps increase from October through April and we must be vigilant to employ personal risk management to prevent off-duty mishaps in the ocean.
One critical statistic highlights that 45 percent of fatal ocean mishaps in Okinawa involve swimmers and snorkelers, particularly those without proper snorkel vests.
Per MARFORJ5101.1Ch1 “To maintain buoyancy and facilitate any necessary rescue, personnel snorkeling and freediving shall wear appropriately-sized vests designed for activity e.g., snorkel vests for snorkeling and freediver recovery vest or snorkel vest for freediving.”
Snorkel vests can be borrowed for no cost, and for up to three days from Tsunami Scuba locations on Camps Schwab, Hansen, Courtney, Foster, Torii Station, and from the Fitness Center on Camp Kinser.
When planning to participate in recreational activities in the ocean, make sure to always;
- Check your Sea Conditions before entering the water, which can be found on your MCCS Okinawa Liberty App
- Wear a floatation device and remember that snorkeling vests are free and available to you
- Use the buddy system at all times in the ocean
- Have a plan, and let someone know where you plan to enter the ocean and what time you expect to return
- Consider your abilities as a swimmer, surfer, diver, etc. and plan your ocean recreation accordingly
- Always swim, surf, paddle, snorkel, and dive within your limits