A local geologist is proposing a new way to warn people of the potential risks when enjoying Hawaii?s beautiful beaches, oceans and natural wonders.
There are lush falls, sandy shorelines and volcanic wonders.
Hawaii's natural beauty is undeniable and irresistible.
Each year, thousands of people swim, hike, climb and jump, to experience that beauty up close, but for some, that experience turns tragic.
In the past 40 years, more than 300 visitors have died, just by drowning, on Kauai alone.
And experts say, that's only a fraction, of those who nearly lost their lives.
It is fueling new ideas on how to showcase Hawaii's natural beauties, and keep people safe.
The Garden Island?s Poipu Beach on Kauai?s south side is stunning and famous.
?People come from all over the island because it's so well known,? said Geologist Dr. Chuck Blay.
He has spent a decade admiring and studying Kauai's coastlines - the area between the ocean and the land - that he calls the zone of interaction.
?Every beach has a different situation,? he told KITV4?s Lara Yamada during a walk down Poipu Beach.
He's been learning why, in that zone, so many people die.
?The number one cause of accidental death on this island is drowning. Two or three times more people die in one year from drowning than from automobile accidents,? he said.
Kealia Beach is one of the deadliest beaches on Kauai's east shore.
?What would you call a day like this?? Yamada asked Lifeguard Eugene Ancheta, who has been working that beach for more than a decade.
?Bottom line just dangerous,? he said.
On that day, the waves were high, but what was also dangerous was what you couldn?t see: rip currents, undertow, and besides one section of reef to block the waves, there was no barrier between the ocean and the sand, meaning those waves were pounding right on shore.
?Did you lose your mask out there?? Yamada asked a couple from Idaho, who were frolicking in the shore break.
?Yeah,? they said. ?The water was much stronger than we thought it would be.?
?They come down here and they're from lakes and ponds and their not familiar,? said Ancheta, ?and then they go out and we have to go get them, if we don't talk to them first.?
Far from the ocean, another deadly spot: Kipu Falls.
?I think a lot of us growing up, us local people, it was a spot we did enjoy,? said Grove Farm Senior VP Mike Tresler.
Grove Farm owns the property around Kipu Falls.
Tresler says popular guidebooks such as "Kauai Revealed" have glamorized the falls and showed the way.
The tourists have flocked and the death toll has climbed.
?We really needed to take action,? he said.
Now, there is an 8-foot fence, rimmed with barbed wire, boulders blocking parking, security monitoring visitors, and warning signs galore.
?It?s unfortunate because we know people enjoy these areas,? said Tresler.
Elsewhere, on Oahu: a hiker fell 15 stories to his death off Olomana Trail.
On Maui: a visitor got sucked into the Nakalele Blowhole and died.
On the Big Island: sharks attacked swimmers twice in one week in Kona.
Experiencing island beauty often means taking a risk.
?But you can't use a generic approach,? said Blay.
Clustered at Poipu Beach on Kauai's south side and in plain sight at Kealia Beach on the east side are the warning signs that you would think would help.
?We saw the sign that said beach closed, but we saw other people around so we kind of went with it,? said that tourist couple from Idaho.
?In many cases signs like you see on a beach like this,? said Blay pointing to several warning signs on Poipu Beach ?are generally the best place to hang your towel.?
Blay says the number of drownings at Poipu Beach has increased nearly every year.
?Hawaii, Kauai has some of the best lifeguards on the planet. The problem that I see is that we haven't designed a water safety program that fits the situation here,? he said.
Since the 1990's the state and counties have made improvements including more lifeguards, more signs and formed the Ocean Safety Bureau, the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association, and created websites filled with colorful, interactive maps.
One of the latest additions is rescue tube and there are about 100 of them on beaches all over Kauai.
It includes specific information on how to use the tube and to remember to call 911.
Experts say it is an improvement, but still not a perfect solution.
?You could drown by trying to save somebody,? worried Blay.
?Is that helpful?? Yamada asked Lifeguard Eugene Ancheta.
?Yes. It?s been used a lot,? he said.
Blay agrees the tubes are helpful, but he believes more can be done.
?What I would propose to have on a beach like this is a poster, with a map of the shoreline, and point out where the most hazardous conditions can occur. Then I would have information about how many people have died here.?
?We've tried a number of things,? said Grove Farm?s Mike Tresler.
In August, Grove Farm put up that 8-foot, barb-wire rimmed fence round Kipu Falls.
The company is currently working through more than one lawsuit, by the families of those who have died there.
Tresler says the company supported legislation to make guidebook writers liable for what they include, but that bill never passed.
For now, he's become an educator.
?It seems that when people are on vacation, they do things that they wouldn't normally do,? he said.
Blay believes the tourism industry needs to play an even bigger role, by providing more information in brochures, video messages on airlines, and hotels ready to give specifics on dangerous places.
?So, it's information transferred, from people who know, to people who obviously don't know,? he said.
?You guys had any rescues today?? Yamada asked Ancheta.
?No, and we like to keep it like that,? he said.
KITV4 talked to Andrew Doughty, author of the guidebook "Kauai Revealed" by phone.
He said Grove Farm did give them permission to add Kipu Falls to their guidebook, but the company rescinded after their last edition went to press.
He said they've pulled Kipu Falls from their newest, 8th edition which shipped out October 1st.