05/23/13 – Ahu O Laka Safety Zone Rule In Place For Memorial Day Weekend

Posted on May 23, 2013 in News Releases

News Release



For Immediate Release May 23, 2013



New Rule Applies to Three Holiday Weekends

HONOLULU — The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will continue enforcing a new state boating rule over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, from May 25-27, 2013, that prohibits:

  • the possession, use or consumption of alcohol
  • loud, abusive or disorderly conduct
  • the presence of persons under the influence of alcohol,
  •  narcotics or non-prescription drugs.

The restrictions will be enforced in an area designated as the Ahu o Laka safety zone (also known as the Kane‘ohe Sandbar) in Kane‘ohe Bay.

“The state is moving forward to support public safety and respect for Ahu o Laka as a unique natural resource and cultural area,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson. “We have listened to the concerns of families and responsible boaters to strike a balance that applies needed rules and enforcement to three summer holiday weekends, which have historically been the times when larger crowds, drinking and unruly behavior caused more disturbances.”

DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers will be present, patrolling both on the water and in He‘eia Kea harbor in an effort to promote safe boating during the three-day weekend. Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation staff at the harbor will provide boaters and the public with information about the safety zone and other boating safety tips.

The new rule establishes a rectangular safety zone in the middle of Kane‘ohe Bay that is just over a square mile in area, comprising the majority of the sandbar and defined by six marker buoys. Provisions of the rule are meant to protect the public while visiting Ahu o Laka on three designated holiday weekends during the summer — Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day, including any three-day weekend associated with these holidays.

The rule first took effect over the July 4, 2012 weekend and has a sunset provision in three years to allow the department time to monitor and evaluate its effectiveness and need for continuance or modification at that time. The rule is posted at https://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dbor/borrules.htm.

Under the new rule, Hawai‘i Administrative Rules Chapter 13-256-73.13 Ahu o Laka Safety Zone, violations may be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 or less than $50 for each violation, in addition to administrative fines, fees, costs and damages. Persons cited will be processed administratively at a public meeting before the Land Board. Persons wishing to contest the infraction(s) may request a contested case hearing.

A 120-day emergency rule that was in operation during the Independence Day, Admission Day and Labor Day weekends in 2011 resulted in a calmer, family friendly environment. During that time DLNR issued a total of eight citations for unauthorized possession of alcohol, and fines issued by the land board ranged from $50 to $500. The safety zone is identical in size and placement to the zone that was approved in 2011 by the Land Board.

Ahu O Laka Safety Zone H-2

Ahu O Laka Safety Zone H-2

Exhibit – Ahu O Laka Safety Zone H-2


For more information media may contact:

Deborah Ward
Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources
Information Specialist
(808) 587-0320
fax (808) 587-0390