State Land Board approves boating rules changes
HONOLULU – The Board of Land and Natural Resources on Sept. 8 approved amendments to a wide range of state boating rules intended to improve management of state small boat harbors and ocean recreation-related activities in Hawaii waters.
“This extensive rule package contains modifications to multiple rule provisions that we have wanted to make for many years,” said Ed Underwood, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) administrator.
“The majority of the rule amendments pertain to organizing the definitions to make them more user-friendly and reorganizing administrative rule provisions for greater clarity,” Underwood continued.
“Facility management and the ocean recreation industry are changing rapidly, and we need to better address the way people are using our harbors and the ocean currently. This includes repealing obsolete rules. In all cases, the rules being proposed will allow DOBOR to do its job of managing its facilities and responsibilities more effectively.”
He added, “We received comment on our 72-hour anchoring rule that will help us to better manage offshore moorings, clarify the camping definition, prohibit open containers (alcohol) at DOBOR facilities and the dive flag rule that will require dive flags to be illuminated at night.”
The rule changes cover a spectrum of boating and ocean recreation uses, such as commercial use and parking permits and fees; commercial marine operations and tours; anchoring or mooring outside of a designated offshore mooring area; reporting of accidents or vessel ownership (and registration) changes; operation of power-driven vessels and recreational thrill-craft; authorization to hold a regatta, marine parade, boat race or exhibition; restrictions pertaining to specific marine waters; use of vessel as a main place of habitation or vacation site; marine toilets; sleeping or camping; and serving, sale and consumption of liquor.
At statewide hearings held in July to present the rules and accept public testimony, DOBOR received numerous comments, with the majority related to new rules regarding feral and abandoned animals.
Two new administrative rule sections were approved that prohibit feeding of wildlife or feral animals, and abandoning animals and creating or contributing to colonies at any property under DOBOR jurisdiction.
These new sections were added in response to complaints about increased feeding of feral animals at DOBOR facilities, which creates potentially unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
The board voted to defer implementation of a provision that would allow disposal of feral or abandoned animals at state small harbors until Jan. 1, 2019. This is in order to give ample time for DOBOR to work with animal caregivers to come up with a viable plan to relocate colonies of feral and/or abandoned animals to areas outside of the small boat harbors.
DOBOR also received comments on rules concerning restrictions on anchoring or mooring outside a designated offshore mooring area; dive flag rules; and on kiteboarding in Kalua Bay ocean waters. (Kiteboarding rules are not part of this rule package and will be addressed in a separate rule amendment process.)
Now that the rules have been adopted by the Board of Land and Natural Resources, the proposed revisions and additions to the rules will be submitted to the governor for approval.
If approved, they then will be filed in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. The rules will become effective and have the force and effect of law ten days after filing in that office.