HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

738

THIRTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2023

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to Reef Protection.

 

 

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

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that sustainable tourism means valuing Hawaii's natural and marine resources over short‑term commercial gain. A recent study from Princeton University found that coral reefs draw coastal tourists to Hawaii, which in turn leads to coral erosion. The study utilized social media posts on Instagram to gauge the popularity of various beaches and found that popularity strongly correlates with damage to the reefs. Commercial surf instruction and tourism companies that provide footwear to their instructors and clients for surf lessons taking place on submerged reefs creates a high likelihood that the instructors and novice client surfers will stand, walk, or fall on the reef structures. Commercial activities that involve the high likelihood of standing, walking, or falling on reef structures that endanger or threaten marine reefs must be strictly regulated to prevent damage to the reefs. These activities are taking place outside of Waikiki's Kuhio and queen's beaches where surf instructions have historically taken place and are instead being generally performed on sandy offshore areas. Commercial surf tourism has expanded beyond Waikiki and is threatening to further damage the State's fragile and valuable nearshore reef ecosystems.

Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to prohibit commercial operators of surfing tourism, instruction, and lesson companies from providing, or allowing the wearing of, footwear during lessons taking place on or above submerged reefs located in shallow ocean waters outside of the Waikiki area.

SECTION 2. Section 200-6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]200-6[]] Limitation of private use of ocean waters and navigable streams. (a) No person shall erect or place any structure or similar object, or sink any type of watercraft or other sizeable object, or abandon any type of watercraft or other sizeable object, either sunk or unsunk, on or within the ocean waters or navigable streams of the State without a written permit from the department. The department may require any person violating this section to remove any structure, similar object, watercraft, or other sizeable object on or within the ocean waters or navigable streams of the State. If any person fails to remove the same within a time limit set by the department, the department may effect the removal and charge the person with the cost thereof. The department may enforce compliance with this section by the use of any appropriate remedy including, but not limited to, injunction or other equitable or legal process in the courts of the State.

(b) No person shall anchor, moor, or otherwise place any vessel, houseboat, or other contrivance on or within the ocean waters or navigable streams of the State without a permit from the department. This section shall not apply to:

(1) Vessels owned by the United States;

(2) Vessels engaged in interstate or foreign commerce; or

(3) Pleasure craft or fishing vessels temporarily anchored for a period of less than seventy-two hours.

The department may require any person violating this section to remove any vessel, houseboat, or other contrivance from the ocean waters or navigable streams of the State. If any person fails to remove the same within the time limit set by the department, the department may effect the removal and charge the person with the cost thereof. The department may enforce compliance with this section by the use of any appropriate remedy, including, but not limited to, injunction or other equitable or legal process in the courts of the State. As used in this section:

"Contrivance" means any human-made object or artificial arrangement not used or intended to be used for transportation which may be floated upon or suspended within the water.

"Houseboat" means any vessel which is fitted for use as a permanent or temporary place of habitation, and is either stationary or capable of being moved by oars, sweeps, or towing.

"Vessel" means every description of watercraft used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water, including, but not limited to, power boats, ships, tugs, sailing vessels, barges, scows, lighters, ferry boats, pleasure craft, floating equipment, floating gear, dry docks, and any and all other watercraft.

(c) The permittee shall pay fees to the department for the offshore mooring permit issued by the department. The fees shall be based on, but not limited to, the use of the vessel, its effect on the waters and aquatic resources of the State, and the administrative expenses incurred by the department and other state agencies in administering offshore mooring. All revenues collected under this section shall be deposited in the boating special fund.

(d) No person holding a commercial use permit from the department for the purposes of providing surfing instructions, tours, or lessons shall provide to any patron, or allow the permittee's instructors or patrons to wear, footwear during any lessons taking place on or above a submerged reef located in any shallow ocean waters in which the instructor or patron is able to stand, walk, or fall onto the reef; provided that this subsection shall not apply to any surfing lessons taking place on or above submerged reefs located in the ocean waters adjacent to the Waikiki shoreline."

SECTION 3. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

Submerged Reefs; Protection; Footwear; Prohibition

 

Description:

Prohibits commercial operators of surfing tourism, instruction, and lesson companies from providing, or allowing the wearing of, footwear during lessons taking place on or above certain submerged reefs.

 

 

 

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