State eyes boating rules changes

LIHUE — Proposed changes to state boating rules will be up for discussion at a meeting on Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Wilcox Elementary School Cafeteria.

Some of those proposed changes open the door for DOBOR to euthanize strays by any means, clear up alcohol consumption and sale restrictions, and change mooring and camping laws within state small boat harbors and nearshore waters.

“This extensive package contains modifications we have wanted to make for many years,” said Ed Underwood, administrator for DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR).

The amendments to Hawaii Administrative Rules are detailed in a 132-page document on the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) website.

Comments on the proposed amendments will be accepted until midnight on Aug. 5, but Monday night is the public’s chance to speak up in person on Kauai.

Some amendments are being proposed because facility management and the ocean recreation industry are changing rapidly and existing rules can’t address the current uses of harbors and oceans, Underwood said.

“Some rules are being repealed because they are obsolete,” Underwood said. “In all cases, the rules being proposed will allow DOBOR to do its job of managing its facilities and responsibilities more effectively.”

More effective management is the goal behind changes in section 13-232-57 of the Hawaii Administrative Rules, for example, which would permit DOBOR staff to destroy animals within their jurisdiction “by any means deemed necessary by the department.”

That’s extreme, in the opinion of Basil Scott, president of the Kauai Community Cat Project, and he’s hoping to see state employees work with the community to solve stray animal issues.

“It’s kind of going against the modern principles of community ethics to say, ‘Shoot them. We reserve the right to do that,’” Scott said. “Work with the community and animal control to solve the issues.”

But Underwood says the plan is to turn all the animals into the Kauai Humane Society. “If a person continues to return the animal to the facility without department permission, then an option could be to destroy the animal,” he said.

The proposed restriction of alcohol consumption in small boat harbors and launching facilities is aimed at clarification and allowing for better enforcement, according to DOBOR officials.

“This was done to help control the unwanted behavior that occurs in the facilities, primarily at night when people are consuming alcohol and not associated with any of the vessels in the facility,” he said.

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