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Which Beach in Maui Has the Most Shark Attacks?

Oct 17 , 2021 · 7 min read

If you are heading to Hawaii, you might be wondering which beach in Maui has the most shark attacks. While it’s true the Hawaiian island of Maui is the place with the most shark casualties in the state they aren’t that common.

Hawaii sees a few shark attacks annually and rarely are they fatal. When you consider the millions of people swimming in the blue waters each year, the chance of a shark encounter is very low. Shark attacks in Maui and other islands in Hawaii are so rare that it usually hits the news both locally and internationally when one does happen. 

The Kaanapali area in West Maui is famous for its pristine beaches on Maui and is a buzzing tourist area with lots of resorts and shops. So when a person was attacked and killed by a shark near Honokowai Point, it was all over the news.

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Shark attack

Makena Point has the highest number of sharks sightings, followed by Kalama, according to local scientists who have been tracking and documenting shark movement and behavior for decades. Next, is Palauea followed by Olowalu. But really, there isn’t too much reason to worry about it. Statistics show more people are killed by dogs in America than sharks. Being killed by a coconut falling off a tree is also more common than you might imagine and happens way more often than shark fatalities.

When it comes to shark attacks, swimmers, snorkelers and surfers are usually bitten by the sea creatures that bring to mind the famous Jaws movie. Can’t you still hear the theme music in your head? Divers are not bothered by sharks much in comparison. Many say the bubbles make the diver look so foreign, so the sharks are repelled, while the surface activity by the other group of people attracts them.

If you do see a shark in Hawaiian waters, it will most likely be a Tiger shark. They come close to shore to find food, and scientists believe they often mistake people for ocean creatures when they strike. Other sharks like Great White sharks, Hammerhead sharks, Bull sharks, and Mako sharks are less likely to be spotted in shallow waters where swimming and snorkelers are usually frolicking. If Tiger sharks bite a human, they will usually leave when they realize it’s not a familiar food such as fish. White sharks are more likely to continue the attack.

While it is easy to paint sharks as the villains of the ocean, we should remember how important, beautiful and amazing they are. The sharks swimming around the beaches in Maui and beyond have been around for longer than dinosaurs. An important link in the ecosystem and cycle of life they are vital to the overall health of the oceans. Sadly, much of the shark population has been decreasing over decades due to ocean pollution, shark fishing, and illegal hunting.

Maui beaches with the most shark attacks

With over 30 miles of beach, there are plenty of sandy spots to choose from. However, these beaches have hidden predators that can be life-threatening. The following are the beaches that have witnessed shark attacks in the past. 


Kīhei has by far reported the most numbers of shark attacks.

Kīhei has by far reported the most numbers of shark attacks. The beach is famous among paddle boaters and surfers and due to less population, everyone here is in the water. The beach has reported 13 shark attacks till now, making it the highest and the most active place for shark attacks.

Makena Beach State Park

Makena beach is popularly known for its tiger sharks that hunt near shallow waters

Makena beach is popularly known for its tiger sharks that hunt near shallow waters. The Makena point has seen the highest number of shark sightings, making it the most dangerous beach on Maui. The beach is beautiful but dangerous and has had 8 shark attacks including two fatalities. Swimmers and snorkelers are advised to not go in the ocean as shark attacks can happen anytime and anywhere. 

Ka'anapali Beach

Ka'anapali Beach in Maui

Located on the western side of West Maui, north of Lahaina, this beach has witnessed 5-6 shark attacks, making it a risky site to swim or snorkel. The last shark attach happened on January 22, 2021, when a snorkeler reported that he was bitten by a shark in the waters of Ka’anapali Beach.

Kapalua Bay

Kapalua Bay in Maui

You’ve probably read about Kapalua Bay on a luxury travel blog or magazine. Surrounded by resorts and condos, this beach is sheltered and safe. It has won numerous awards and titles for best beach in the world, so many say it is one of the best beaches in Maui. If you are into beach hopping, this one should be included on your must-see beaches. However, this beautiful island has reported shark attacks in the past. 

Baldwin Beach Park

Baldwin Beach Park in Maui

Baldwin has reported seeing a few shark attacks and the latest shark attack took place in the first week of September 2022, when a 51-yeard-old woman was bitten by a shark after which the beach had been closed down for a few days. 


Honolua Bay

Honolua Bay in Maui

Honolua Bay is not far from the charming historic town of Lahaina, so you could combine a trip to both places in a single day. Famous for surfing and snorkeling, it is one of the most photogenic and popular beaches for tourists and locals in Maui.  Though shark attacks are quite rare, but they do happen every once in a while. Recently, there were two shark attacks that took place while the victims were snorkeling. 

Note there isn’t a lifeguard stationed at this beach.


Hamoa Beach

Hamoa Beach in Maui

Maui beaches as gorgeous as they look have started to become scary and life-threatening for not just locals but tourists as well. Lately, a woman was bitten by a shark while she was snorkeling in the waters of Hamao beach. 

Palauea Beach

Beach Volleyball

Albeit, the beach is one of the most peaceful beaches on Maui, it has witnessed many shark attacks that have taken place on Palauea Beach. 

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Olowalu Beach

Olowalu Beach in Maui

For tropical vibes that could quickly end up on your Instagram feed, visit Olowalu Beach near Lahaina Town. Camping is allowed on this beach, so if you have a tent and camping gear, you could give up your luxury hotel for a night and have a beach camping adventure.

Olowalu Beach has witnessed 3 shark attacks till now. 


Ho'okipa State Beach Park

Ho'okipa State Beach Park in Maui

Like other beaches of Maui, Ho’okipa State Beach Park has also seen a few shark attacks, the last being reported in 2016 when a 36-year-old Paia man was bitten by a 5-foot reef shark on his left arm and left leg.

There are many more nice beaches in Maui. With so many shorelines, it would be impossible to list them all, and if you are an adventurous traveler, you surely will discover some gems, not on our list. You can expect lots of sunny days, friendly locals, warm water but don’t expect to see a shark. It really isn’t likely. You have more chance of a celebrity sighting or of winning the lottery.

Just to reassure your mind a little more as you pack your suitcases for sunny Hawaii, here are some final words of advice for avoiding those majestic yet sometimes dangerous sharks.

Hints To Safeguard Yourself Against Shark Attacks

Shark attack while swimming

Even though sharks are more scared of people than we are from them, we get that they are scary. For some extra reassurance when you visit the beaches in Maui, there are some more precautions to take.

  • Don’t swim at dusk or nighttime when sharks usually feed
  • Don’t swim near fishing boats or other fishing areas
  • Stay calm if you see a shark and don’t splash around
  • Avoid swimming if you have a cut or open wound
  • Don’t swim when you are menstruating
  • Don’t pee in the ocean as it can attract sharks
  • Never wear jewelry as it can be shiny like fish scales
  • Swim in areas patrolled by lifeguards – there are many Maui beaches with lifeguards on duty
  • Always swim with another person to stay safe

We are sure you probably won’t get near a shark in Maui, let alone attacked by one. Divers are always hoping to see one and even they consider a sighting a lucky event. So pack your swimsuit, sunblock and other beach bum accessories and get ready to explore the gorgeous beaches in Maui. It will be all sun, surf and sunsets for you with a few cocktails we expect!

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