HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

436

TWENTY-NINTH LEGISLATURE, 2017

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO PROPELLER GUARDS.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that in 2011, Hawaii had the second-worst record of boating-related fatalities in the nation, at a rate of forty-four boating related deaths per one hundred thousand registered ocean vessels. Boats, especially those operated for recreational purposes in nearshore waters, frequently come into contact with other ocean users who are engaging in recreational or subsistence activities. In recent years, several individuals statewide have been critically injured or killed by the boat propellers under these circumstances.

Most boat propellers are designed as sharp, exposed, spinning blades. When they come into contact with swimmers, divers, surfers, snorkelers, and paddlers in the water due to operator error, disregard for ocean safety standards, or naturally occurring conditions like strong currents, the result is almost always critical or fatal injury.

Boat propellers can also cause environmental damage. While a boat is underway, its propeller may strike and injure marine animals, including protected species such as sharks, dolphins, and sea turtles, even when the boat's operator is aware of hazards and makes efforts to avoid them. Propellers can also seriously damage aquatic plant life, which is a necessary component of healthy reef ecosystems, a critical food source for herbivorous marine animals, and an important cultural resource for many of Hawaii's people. Additionally, turbulence and wake caused by propellers can harm small marine species, increase shoreline erosion, and damage critical shoreline habitat.

The legislature finds that propeller guards mitigate damage to human and marine life and the ocean ecosystem by serving as a barrier surrounding propeller blades and reducing turbulence and wake. Propeller guards provide additional benefits to boat owners by protecting propeller blades from damage, increasing boat performance, deterring propeller theft, and qualifying boat owners for insurance discounts.

The purpose of this Act is to protect ocean users as well as ocean and shoreline ecosystems by requiring all motorized recreational vessels that operate in nearshore waters to have propeller guards or similar technology installed.

SECTION 2. Chapter 200, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"200-   Propeller guards required. (a) It shall be unlawful to operate a motorized recreational vessel in the waters of the State within five hundred meters of shore unless the vessel is equipped with a properly functioning propeller guard.

(b) For purposes of this section, "propeller guard" means:

(1) An after-market physical barrier including a cage, screen, vane guard, shroud, ring, deflector, or similar technology that is designed to be installed on a vessel's propeller for the purpose of protecting the propeller, marine life, or persons from damage or harm; or

(2) A propeller that is manufactured to incorporate a physical barrier or rounded leading blade edges as a design feature for the purpose of protecting marine life or persons from damage or harm."

SECTION 3. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

Marine Life; Recreational Vessels; Propeller Guards

 

Description:

Requires all motorized recreational vessels operating in nearshore waters to have properly functioning propeller guards.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.