Boating In Hawaii

Pleasure boating as a family sport is growing in popularity every year.  The U.S. Coast Guard estimated the total number of recreational boats in 1962 at 5.85 million.  This number has grown to a current estimate of more than 20 million pleasure boats.  Each year, an estimated 75 million people go boating.  Today, recreational boats are used for a wide variety of activities, including fishing, water skiing, hunting, sailing, paddling, or just plain cruising.

wreck1Unfortunately, many pleasure boaters will encounter problems.  U.S. Coast Guard national statistics show that there are approximately 7,000 boating accidents reported each year, involving about 9,000 boats, which result in nearly 1,000 fatalities and about $25 million in property damage.  Can these accidents be prevented? The answer is an emphatic YES.  

The resources provided below will help improve both your boating experience in Hawaii and your safety while on ocean waters.  Education is a key element in your safety on the water.  The more you know about boating, the more you will enjoy it.

Boat Basics (General information about boats)

Anchoring Awareness (DOBOR Flyer)

Boating Safety

Boaters and divers have a shared responsibility.  Boaters must watch for and avoid dive flags (slow no wake within 200 feet) and divers must mark their positions with a dive flag.  Dive shops and the public may request copies of Posting a lookout.  This poster is copyrighted and appears on this website with permission of the designer, Viki Nasu Design Group.

Carbon Monoxide Hazards on Recreational Boats

Required Markings for Bottomfishing Vessels

All vessels engaging in bottomfishing must display proper markings, even if the catch is for home consumption.

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)

Pursuant to Act 54: effective January 1, 2004, all vessels more than 1 mile offshore must have a EPIRB or VHF radio on board.
As of January 1, 2007, older EPIRBs operating on the 121.5 MHz and 243 MHz frequencies are prohibited from use by the U.S. Coast Guard.  Commercial boats operating more than three (3) miles off shore are required to carry 406 MHz digital EPIRBs.  In Hawaii, recreational vessels operating more than one mile offshore, unless otherwise equipped with a VHF radio, are required to carry a U.S. Coast Guard approved EPIRB as well.
EPIRB Requirements for Commercial Vessels (PDF Flowchart)

What to Know Before You Go

There are numerous off-limits areas in Hawaiian waters. Some are patrolled by the military for your own safety. Boat Smart, Get a Chart.

Even in Hawaii: HYPOTHERMIA!

Life Vests: They Float, You Don’t (Basics about PFDs)

Life Vests for Children(Excerpt from article about “getting the right fit”)

E-10 Ethanol And Your Marine Engine (DOBOR Flyer: E-10 Ethanol Gas)

Managing Boat Wastes (New DOBOR publication, 1.2MB PDF)

Managing Boat Wastes (Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard publication)

Personal Watercraft (PWC) safety basics

In Hawaii, no person under the age of 15 may operate a PWC.  All PWC operators must be certified to operate their vessels in State waters.  For details, please view the administrative rules.

Personal Watercraft (PWC) safety checklist

Pollutants: Keeping Them out of the Marine Environment

Pumpouts in Hawaii (New DOBOR publication, 304K PDF)

Vessel Registration and Titling

How to Dispose of Your Vessel in Hawaii

WHO SHOULD I CALL? (Whom to contact when emergency situations arise)



This page was last updated on 3/23/23.