H.C.R. NO.














URGING THE COUNTY COUNCILS to enact ordinances TO BAN the sale and rental of FULL-FACE SNORKEL MASKS in Hawaii.




WHEREAS, the State is a prime destination for ocean activities because of the clear blue waters, year-round warm waters, and unique ocean ecosystems; and


WHEREAS, the promotion of safe practices will ensure that locals and non-locals enjoy ocean activities in the State; and


WHEREAS, 17 snorkeling-related deaths occur on average each year in Hawaii; and


WHEREAS, in 2018, there were 14 such deaths in the first three months; and


WHEREAS, between January 14 and 27, 2018, eight people, including at least three tourists, drowned near several beaches on Maui, bringing the death toll in the span of two weeks to almost half of the 17 snorkeling deaths that Hawaii experiences in a year; and


WHEREAS, two of those deaths involved visitors from California who were wearing full-face snorkel masks and those drownings have raised concerns about use of recently introduced models of full-face snorkeling masks; and


WHEREAS, full-face snorkel masks are masks that seal around a person's entire face and strap around the head with a tube for breathing and the design of full-face snorkel masks makes it difficult to remove the mask when an individual panics in the ocean; and


WHEREAS, the design is also believed to retain more carbon dioxide in the mask, which may lead to a person becoming disoriented or lose consciousness; and


WHEREAS, critics of the full-face design, including experienced watermen and women on Maui say that there is carbon dioxide buildup in the mask, and the masks are prone to leaking and fogging easily; and


WHEREAS, the full-face masks are popular because the new design advertises that people can breathe through their nose and mouth, unlike a traditional snorkel with only a mouthpiece; and


WHEREAS, a Hawaii retailer field-tested the full-face snorkeling masks and now refuses to sell them, and an owner of one of Maui's and the State's largest snorkel companies said that he never will sell the "one piece" snorkel masks; and


WHEREAS, some surviving relatives and friends of the deceased snorkelers have placed the blame on full-face snorkel masks; now, therefore,


BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Thirtieth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2019, the Senate concurring, that this body urges the county councils to enact ordinances to ban the sale and rental of full-face snorkel masks in Hawaii; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Council Chairs of the Honolulu City Council, Kauai County Council, Maui County Council, and Hawaii County Council.









Report Title:

Full-Face Snorkel Mask; Ban