Ocean Recreation

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“To enrich the lives of Hawaii’s residents and visitors by providing facilities for recreational boating and supporting opportunities for ocean activities. To preserve Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources, while ensuring public access to State waters and enhancing the ocean experience.”


Hawai`i has the 4th longest coastline in the United States. Approximately 410,000 acres of coral reefs provide a home to fish and other marine animals and serve to diminish the powerful waves that are constantly eroding our beaches. Please avoid physical contact with our reefs. Even a gentle brush can kill these living organisms. For more information, please visit The Coral Reef Alliance . If renting a boat, think about using Hawaii’s day-use-mooring system to help prevent coral damage.

Hawaii is host to many protected marine species. Human contact can be harmful and that’s why there are rules about how close you can approach humpback whales dolphins, turtles, the native Hawaiian Monk Seal and other marine species. Programs like Dolphin Smart insure that humans admire them from a distance so they remain healthy and in their natural state in the wild.

Each year there are drowning fatalities in Hawaii’s waters. The state is situated in the middle of a vast ocean and just offshore you can encounter open ocean conditions. Learn about the hazards of Hawaii’s ocean waters .

DLNR’S Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation manages small boat harbors, boat ramps, offshore moorings, etc. For more information of Boating visit DOBOR .

Hawaii's Water Activities


If you decide to rent ocean recreation equipment you should understand that you are subject to rules and regulations for that activity. Please respect and heed warning signs where they are posted. These rules and warning signs are designed to reduce user conflicts, protect Hawaii’s resources, and improve safety for all users.

Hawaii is host to many protected marine species. Human contact can be harmful, and that’s why there are laws and guidelines about how close and in what way you should approach humpback whales, dolphins, turtles, Hawaiian monk seals and other marine species. For example, see the Marine Mammal & Sea Turtle Viewing “Code of conduct.” Programs like Dolphin Smart recognize responsible tour operators to help insure that humans admire wildlife from a distance so they remain healthy and in their natural state.

Participating in a guided tour is a good idea. Your guides can instruct you on the rules and regulations that apply. Look for indicators that the tour operator you choose respects our shared resources and the stream and marine life that make Hawaii a special place to visit.