DLNR enforcement officers will increase their presence in and around Kane"ohe Bay to enforce safety equipment requirements, zone violations, boating under the influence (BUI) violations and all other regulations under the department's purview. DLNR will work cooperatively with the U.S. Coast Guard on this effort.
"The department wants to raise public awareness of boating regulations to ensure everyone's safety," said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairperson.
"The laws and rules that apply to boating and ocean recreation are designed to provide for the safe use and enjoyment of our wonderful natural resource like Kane"ohe Bay. If everyone takes personal responsibility to follow the rules, including caring for the bay and respecting other users, we can expect everyone to safely enjoy their outing."
While in State waters, boaters must carry certain types of safety equipment as required by the U.S. Coast Guard, including life vests for everyone aboard, visual distress signals, a sound producing device to signal oncoming boaters and appropriate running lights for times of limited visibility, to name a few.
In addition, boaters venturing more than one mile offshore are required by law to be equipped with a VHF radio or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. Children 12 years of age and under must wear an appropriately sized personal flotation device such as a child's life jacket at all times when above deck.
The Kane"ohe Bay Ocean Recreation Management Area has designated riding zones for personal watercraft and other ocean recreation activities for safety reasons and to reduce user conflicts. During this pilot project, DLNR will monitor regulated activities to make sure they are conducted in their proper zones within the management area.
Fines for violations of safety equipment requirements and zone violations range from $50 up to $1,000.
Under the State's BUI law, known as Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant, HRS Â§291E-61, the threshold blood alcohol content is 0.08 grams of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of breath (or grams of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of blood). Penalties for a BUI conviction may include a fine of up to $1000, imprisonment of up to a year and may trigger revocation of an individual's automobile driver's license.
"If there is going to be drinking on a vessel, DLNR strongly encourages the crew to identify a designated driver for the safety of the vessel's occupants, as well as other boaters and ocean enthusiasts. Exercising caution and obeying the law can prevent needless tragedy," said Thielen.