SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Recreational injuries account for 10 percent of all Army deaths and 20 percent of lost time accidents.
The nature of these injuries varies with the location and the season, but here in Hawaii, the leading causes are swimming and hiking.
"Oahu has 29 beaches with lifeguards, leading to some of the lowest drowning rates in the country," said Arnold Iaea, safety specialist, Directorate of Installation Safety, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii. "Twenty-one of those beaches are moderately hazardous most of the year, and (they) are great places to spend the day with family. Seven North Shore beaches and Sandy Beach on the East Shore are considered 'expert' and are more hazardous."
Pick a beach that matches your abilities, added Clint German, director, DIS, USAG-HI. "If you have family along or are not an expert swimmer, 'Take a STAND!' and don't go to the expert beach."
Hiking can be another cause of injury. Oahu has more than 50 well-marked nature trails spanning the entire spectrum of difficulty. Walk with a buddy. It's safer to travel in groups of two-three, so someone can go for help if the unexpected occurs.
Many Soldiers select their hike based upon recommendations of thrill seekers on YouTube or other media. Thrill seekers show the hazardous Haiku Stairs, Pu'u Manamana, Olamana or the closed Sacred Falls trail. The risk of death on these trails is ever-present, and many hikers gamble with their lives.
Finally, an afternoon of riding mopeds with friends can turn deadly. Moped rental agencies are around every corner in Waikiki. Fees and deposits are low, and no special license is required, so many Soldiers spend an afternoon riding with friends.
Mopeds are little different from full-sized motorcycles when it comes to fatal accidents, and they represent 37 percent of Hawaii two-wheeled fatalities.
Additionally, the Army requires specialized training prior to riding any two-wheeled machine. The safety requirements are the same, including a helmet and protective clothing.
"The key to a fun, injury-free day is knowing how to reduce your risks," said German. "Determine your risks and find ways to reduce them before you finally select where to go or what to do. If you are with friends, and you see them making dangerous choices, 'Take a STAND!' and convince them to make the safe choice."