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DLNR conducts second annual dive flag give away


Memorial Day weekend reminder: Divers, mark your spot; Boaters, steer clear of dive flags

HONOLULU – The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is soliciting entries for its second annual dive flag giveaway. The summer event is designed to raise awareness in Hawai‘i’s ocean recreation community of the importance of using and watching out for dive flags in the water.

The department will be giving away one dive flag a week during the summer months of June, July and August. Each flag meets State requirements.

“Divers and boaters have a shared responsibility and obligation to help ensure safety for one another while in the water. When each follow the safety protocol and remains alert, accidents can be avoided,” said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairperson.

Divers have the responsibility of marking their positions with the required red and white dive flags and should not surface more than 100 feet from their flags.

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.

“The department has always emphasized taking pro-active measures to avoid accidents. One of the best preventive measures to take is to post a watch and have a second person on board actively scan the waters in the vessel’s path for dive flags and divers in the water,” said Thielen.

“A designated lookout could save a life. A lookout can also assist the vessel operator by spotting whales, sea turtles, coral heads and large floating objects,” Thielen added.

The free dive flags are being given away in random, weekly drawings to Hawai‘i residents only.

Anyone wishing to enter the drawing for these free dive floats should send a postcard or index card in an enclosed envelope with their contact information (phone number and e-mail address) and mailing address to: Dive Flag Drawing, in care of the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, 333 Queen Street, Suite 300, Honolulu, Hawai‘i, 96813. Complete rules will be posted on the DOBOR website by June 1, 2010.

Interested parties may enter as often as they wish. Limit one dive flag per person or address. Winners will be notified by phone or e-mail. DLNR employees and their dependents are not eligible.

The dive flag give-away is funded by a grant from the U.S. Coast Guard which all states receive as mandated by law to provide boaters with safety equipment and educational information. No state funds are being used.

For more information about safe boating and diving rules, visit the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) web site at To report boating or natural resources violations call 643-DLNR (3567).


  • Divers are required by law to use a dive flag when diving or swimming underwater in navigable waters of the State. Divers are also required to surface within 100’ of their flags while in open waters and within 50’ of their flags in navigable streams.
  • A dive flag is a red flag, measuring not less than one square foot, with a white diagonal strip running from the upper left hand corner to the lower right hand corner (from masthead to lower outside corner).
  • The flag may be attached to a float or mounted on the highest point of a vessel being used as a platform up to 16’ in length and visible from all directions. Vessels over 16’ must display a 20”x24” dive flag along with a blue alpha flag mounted at the highest point of the vessel and visible from all directions. An alpha flag is a blue flag with a white vertical strip running from the upper left side to the lower left side. It is the international signal for a diver down.
  • All vessels (boats and personal watercraft) are prohibited from approaching within 100’ of a displayed diver’s flag in open waters and 50’ in a navigable stream unless conducting SCUBA, snorkeling, or free diving activities. These vessels may approach within the restricted area of a dive flag at a speed of slow-no-wake.
  • Failure to employ a dive flag and violating the no-approach/slow-no-wake zone around a dive flag is punishable by up to 6 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

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