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Ocean safety bills signed into law

By Staff | Jul 12, 2012

LAHAINA – State Rep. Angus McKelvey and Sen. Roz Baker of Lahaina praised Gov. Neil Abercrombie for signing into law two ocean safety measures.

Act 194 establishes a West Maui Ocean Recreation Management Area (ORMA) advisory committee to work with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) on issues relating to the waters of West Maui.

This committee will be comprised of citizens representing various aquatic disciplines such as paddling, surfing, swimming, boating and fishing.

“This measure will bring the users of the Kaanapali Ocean Recreation Management Area together with the state to ensure that the rules for the uses within the ORMA by different enthusiasts are consistent and are enforced properly for the safety of the whole community,” said Tenth District Rep. McKelvey.

“The community will now have a voice at the table and will advise the department on issues related to the use and maintenance of state waters within West Maui,” said Fifth District Sen. Baker.

Act 195 requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources to adopt rules that promote greater safety of ocean users in the state’s nearshore waters and report on the status of rulemaking. The measure also includes an appropriation for swim zone buoys at Kamaole beach in Kihei.

“Indeed, the appropriation of $20,000, included in this act, will ensure that Kamaole Beach will receive the eight buoys which will help to lower the safety hazards involving ocean goers in the area, while still maintain access for all to the area. With populations continuing to climb, it has become even more apparent that added protection to both swimmers and boaters needed to be implemented,” said Sen. Baker, who represents South and West Maui.

“Act 195 is also critical for the boating community, because it contains the safe harbor provision which will allow vessels in distress to use state small boat harbors during times of storms,” added Rep. McKelvey, who represents Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kapalua, Maalaea, Kihei and North Kihei.