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DLNR reminders for Memorial Day weekend boating safety


The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is reminding boaters, divers and ocean recreation enthusiasts to observe boating safety rules on the water, including vessel registration and required safety equipment, over the Memorial Day weekend.

DLNR boating division staff and enforcement officers will again be monitoring boating activity at various locations statewide 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.

“If everyone follows the rules and regulations, including caring for marine resources and respecting other users, we can expect everyone to safely enjoy their outing,” said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairwoman.

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.

Boaters going 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.

Ocean Recreation Management Areas with designated riding zones for personal watercraft and other ocean recreation activities are in place in selected waters statewide for safety reasons and to reduce user conflicts.

These locations are described on the DOBOR website at 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.

Boaters are also reminded to be on the watch for divers in the water, and actively scan the waters in the vessel’s path for dive flags and divers in the water.

Boaters may not approach within 100 feet of a dive flag unless conducting dive operations. If they do approach a dive flag on the ocean, boaters must do so at a speed of slow-no-wake within 100 feet of the flag.

Under the state’s BUI law, known as Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant, HRS §291E-61, the threshold blood alcohol content is 0.08 grams of alcohol per 210 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 $1,000, 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,” Thielen said.

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