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DLNR, Coast Guard sign recreational boating safety cooperative agreement

From left: Kevin Kong, acting DOCARE chief, Ed Underwood, DOBOR administrator, Laura Thielen, DLNR Chairwoman, Rear Admiral Manson K. Brown, Capt. Barry Compagnoni, Chief, Sector Honolulu, Kent Richards, RBS program officer, District 14. (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7 by Robert Rushforth)


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The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and the U.S. Coast Guard Fourteenth Coast Guard District have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA), which will set the framework and procedures for the relationship between the Coast Guard and the state.

Laura H. Thielen, DLNR Chairwoman, and Rear Admiral Manson Brown, U.S. Coast Guard Commander, Fourteenth District formalized this partnership at a signing ceremony April 29.

The agreement defines how the state and Coast Guard will work together to oversee recreational boating safety programs, including the mutual enforcement of laws relating to recreational boating safety on waters within the concurrent jurisdiction of the State of Hawaii and the United States.

The agreement also assists the agencies in exchanging relevant information on law enforcement, boating safety and search and rescue incidents to enhance success for each organization.

“One team; one fight,” Brown said. “The Coast Guard appreciates the collaboration with our State of Hawaii partners to conclude this significant agreement to enhance recreational boating safety for our public. We encourage Hawaii’s boaters to take appropriate safeguards to mitigate potential dangers to their safety and enjoyment of the maritime environment. This agreement will strengthen efforts to educate the public about these safeguards, as well as enhance collective response efforts when safeguards fail.”

“We thank the Coast Guard for continuing to work with DLNR via the recreational boating safety program,” Thielen said. “The Coast Guard has been a tremendous, solid partner that has provided assistance, guidance and support to the state in joint enforcement efforts and keeping our boaters safe.

“The number and kinds of watercraft taking to Hawaii’s waters is growing each year. For this reason it’s critical to our success as ocean safety and enforcement agencies to have clearly defined areas of responsibility when it comes to search and rescue, lifesaving and enforcement.

“This agreement will help both agencies to provide better protection and safeguarding of all recreational vessels and their operators, including canoes and kayaks, powerboats, sailing vessels, stand-up paddle boards, and many commercial vessels which take to our waters,” Thielen said.

Through the MOA, the U.S. Coast Guard will continue to assist with providing available training to DLNR personnel.

In turn, DLNR, when able, will provide training and orientation to Coast Guard personnel when new state rules and procedures are developed. This will allow members of the two agencies to work together when conducting operations in the field.

The MOA also strives to provide opportunities for staff members of the partner agencies to train and network with other, national boating safety partners.

The agreement will be reviewed every two years and will remain in effect until canceled by either party.

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