Mandatory Boater Education Requirement To Be Enforced In Less Than Six Months

Posted on May 19, 2014 in Announcements

DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES

News Release

NEIL ABERCROMBIE
GOVERNOR
WILLIAM J. AILA JR,
CHAIRPERSON

For Immediate News Release May 19, 2014

MANDATORY BOATER EDUCATION REQUIREMENT
TO BE ENFORCED IN LESS THAN SIX MONTHS

HONOLULU – With just less than six months to go before Hawaii’s new mandatory education law for boaters is to be enforced, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) would like to inform boaters that there is still ample time and multiple ways to become compliant.

Beginning Nov. 10, 2014, all individuals who operate a motorized vessel in Hawaii’s state waters must have taken a boating safety course and be able to show proof of certification.

The rule applies to all boaters unless they and/or the vessels being used fall under one of the exemptions mentioned in the new rule.

The text of this Mandatory Boater Education Rule can be accessed online at: http://files.hawaii.gov/dlnr/dobor/rules/amend/Amend-13-244-15-5.pdf

Any person violating this rule shall be fined not less than $50 and not more than $1,000 or sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more than 30 days, or both, for each violation. The court may also prevent an individual from operating a vessel in state waters for up to 30 days.

DLNR has worked diligently to create multiple methods for complying with the requirement. There are three Internet courses that are fully approved, with one being offered free of charge. Classroom courses are being offered statewide by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Two U.S. Power Squadrons are offering classes on Oahu.

In the next few months, numerous other course providers across the state will start to offer additional classes and DLNR will launch its own home study course. In addition, those who have already taken a course approved by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators can take abbreviated courses, free of charge, to become compliant.

A question and answer publication posted by DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) is available at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dobor/mandatory-boating-safety-education-qa/. Full details on all the compliance methods are posted at this site.

A study released in 2007 by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) showed that states with the longest history of mandatory education had the lowest boating fatality rates. For most of the boating safety community, this study was conclusive evidence that mandatory boating education saves lives. Hawaii ranked fifth on the list of highest fatality rates in the year the study was finalized. In 2011, Hawaii had a fatality rate of 44 per 100,000 vessels, second worse in the nation.

“A little bit of education and training can go a long way toward saving lives and preventing accidents. This is why the department initiated its Mandatory Education Rule,” said DLNR Director William J. Aila, Jr. “We can be easily persuaded to think of the ocean as wide open space. But because of the increasing number of whales that visit our waters each year, the burgeoning sea turtle population, the explosion in free diving, the popularity of stand-up paddling and other emerging recreational and commercial uses of our waters, there is growing potential for interaction between boats, marine life and ocean users.

“A boating safety course raises your awareness of your responsibility as a boater. All vessel operators should keep a constant watch and, beyond that, post an additional lookout to help scan the horizon whenever possible.”

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Media Contacts:

Deborah Ward
DLNR Public Information Specialist
(808) 587-0320

Clifford Inn
DOBOR Boating Safety Officer
(808) 587-1972
(808) 216-5402