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Governor approves sweeping changes in rules for boat harbors and state waters

By Staff | Jan 3, 2019

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige has approved a comprehensive administrative rule amendment package for the Department of Land & Natural Resources’ Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR). The amendments cover rules for state small boat harbors, state boating facilities and state ocean waters.

The significant changes made by the newly signed rules include:

1) Consolidating all definitions in Title 13, Subtitle 11, Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR) into HAR 13-230-8 to reduce confusion and eliminate redundant definitions.

2) Updating definitions to conform to state statutory language and legal precedent as well as federal requirements.

3) Adding two new sections, HAR 13-232-57.1 and 13-232-57.2, which prohibit feeding feral animals at small boat harbors and prohibit abandoning animals at small boat harbors, respectively.

4) Amending sleeping and camping prohibitions in HAR 13-232-58 in order to address the issue of people sleeping or camping at small boat harbors and boating facilities when not on board a vessel.

5) Amending alcohol serving, sale and consumption rules in HAR 13-232-60 to facilitate better enforcement of alcohol violations at small boat harbors and boating facilities.

6) Amending rules to clarify restrictions on anchoring or mooring outside of designated offshore mooring areas under HAR 13-235-9. Amended language provides that no person shall anchor or moor a vessel in an Ocean Recreation Management Area or non-designated area for more than a cumulative period of 72 hours within any 14-day period.

7) Updating rules regarding diver’s flags under HAR 13-245-9 by clarifying applicability to snorkelers, free divers and SCUBA divers who are not accompanied by a host vessel or who surface more than 100 feet from their host vessel and requiring illumination for a dive flag between sunset and sunrise.

8) Removing the exemption in HAR 13-256-3 for vessels operating out of Kewalo Basin from obtaining a commercial use permit or catamaran registration certificate.

9) Updating HAR 13-256-5 to increase gross receipt payment amount in subsection (j)(2) from 2 percent to 3 percent to conform with Hawaii Revised Statutes.

10) Updating HAR 13-256-16 & 13-256-17, regarding thrill craft, to require that thrill craft operators must have passed “a state approved course” which would allow operators to choose from a wider selection of certification courses.

According to the state, DOBOR’s priority is the health and safety of all of the harbor users. DLNR is also looking to protect native and endangered species, as feral animals threaten birds, mammals, seals and other fauna. It is important to have a mechanism to address the department’s harbor health and endangered species concerns as necessary.