Covid-19 – DOBOR Response


Covid-19 artist rendering

Covid-19 artist rendering


To inhibit the spread of Covid-19, the following preventive measures have been put in place, effective immediately, and will remain in effect until further notice:

  • All DOBOR District and Harbor offices across the state are closed. 
  • All Commercial Operator Permits (CUPs) are suspended.
  • All Marine Event Permits are cancelled. 
  • Payment for monthly mooring fees can be mailed to the appropriate harbor office.
  • Vessel registration and vessel transfers can be made via mail to DLNR/DOBOR, Vessel Registration Branch, 4 Sand Island Access Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96819 or via DOBOR’s online vessel registration system

The public may call the appropriate district and harbor offices with questions and monitor the DOBOR web site at for updates.

Click on this text to sign-up for notices when this page is updated!


Most recent updates to this page:


Q6 – DOBOR’s restrooms on Maui were shut down on 4/9/20 because of an issue with the cleaning contractor.  The facilities are now being cleaned by DOBOR staff and have been reopened.  

Q7 & Q8 – Prohibition on landing on Ahu O Laka (aka the Sandbar, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu) has been lifted.  Vessels visiting Ahu O Laka MUST moor at least 20 feet apart.  All visitors MUST practice social distancing AND adhere to safety guidelines according to published requirements. 



Q3 -Introducing guidelines for visiting vessels and updating inter-island travel policy.



Q8 – Heeia Kea SBH ramps and trailer parking are open for all uses, however, access to Ahu O Laka (aka the Sandbar) is prohibited and social gatherings on the water are discouraged.



Ahu O Laka and offshore islets closed due to Covid-19.

Projected reopening date for DOBOR offices is tentatively set for 5/1/20.

All private showers for tenants at Ala Wai SBH are open.



DOBOR Maui restroom facilities are closed temporarily.

Inter-island travel ban is in effect.





Q1. When did the DOBOR closure go into effect?

March 18, 2020.


Q2. Can I use the boat ramp or take my boat out during the shutdown?

Yes. If you have access to your boat, you may launch. Ramps will remain open. Washdowns will still be operational.  Please remember to use a spring-loaded nozzle at the washdown and limit your time to 15 minutes to prevent waste.


Q3. I am piloting a vessel and will be arriving in Hawaii soon from a foreign port.  What procedure must I follow? What are the procedures for traveling inter-island?

For international, domestic and inter-island vessel travel, depending on your island destination, please contact the appropriate DOBOR District Manager.

Kauai Island District Office
Jeremiah G. Aguilera
Acting Kauai District Manager
Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor
2494 Niumalu Road, Lihue, Hawaii 96766
Phone: (808) 241-3111 Fax (808) 241-3117
E-mail: [email protected]

Hawaii Island District Office
Christopher M. Phillips
Acting Hawaii District Manager
Honokohau Small Boat Harbor
74-380 Kealakehe Parkway, Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i 96740-2704
Ph: (808) 327-3690 Fax: (808) 327-3675
Email: [email protected]

Maui District Office (Including the Islands of Lanai and Molokai)
Paul K. Sensano
Maui District Manager
Maalaea Small Boat Harbor
101 Maalaea Boat Harbor Road, Wailuku, Hawai`i 96793
Ph: (808) 243-5824 Fax: (808) 243-5829
E-mail: [email protected]

Oahu District Office
Bruce L. Swartz
Oahu District Manager
Keehi Small Boat Harbor
4 Sand Island Access Road, Honolulu, HI 96819
Phone: (808) 832-3520, Fax: (808) 587-1977
E-mail: [email protected]

District managers will provide information on the specific facility within their districts where the visiting vessel MUST be received and moored.  

All vessels must comply with conditions set in Hawaii Governor Ige’s fourth proclamation requiring self-quarantine lasting 14 days.  Operators and passengers may only get off the vessel for supplies and need to follow the Governor’s emergency proclamations and County requirements while off the vessel, including wearing of face masks, social distancing, etc.

A recreational vessel coming in from out of State does not need to be quarantine as long as the operator and passengers can prove they have been at sea for longer than 14 days and no one on board is sick. 

Upon arrival, the operator must call US Customs and Border Protection immediately at 808-522-8012.  This contact also ties-in the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. 

All visiting vessels must fill out and submit to the respective District Manager, a 1) Declaration Form when they arrive, 2) the 14-day quarantine order, and 3) an application for a temporary mooring permit.

DOBOR is not requiring a visiting vessel to be inspected (for the safety of the staff).  A buoy run that is normally required as a condition of a temporary mooring permit can be done when DOBOR staffers see the visiting vessel come into the harbor.  If not, buoy runs can be done on a case-by-case basis. 

Proof of insurance is not required immediately if the operator of the vessel must contact an insurance provider to establish a new policy. However, proof of $500,000 liability insurance should be submitted as soon as possible to keep the temporary mooring permit in force.

Visiting vessels should be aware that DLNR/DOBOR rules prohibit a vessel from anchoring offshore for more than 72-hours in what is called an Ocean Recreation Management Area or a Non-Designated Ocean Recreation Management Area.


Q4. I have a marine event permit.  Is it cancelled? 

Unfortunately, yes.


Q5. I wash off at your public showers after a swim.  How will this affect me?

The public showers are being shut down for the duration of the closure.


Q6. Are public restrooms at the harbors open?

On Hawaii island, Kauai and Oahu, restrooms are open all hours, seven days a week with one exception.  Waianae SBH public restrooms are closed from 4pm to 7am daily. 

DOBOR’s restrooms on Maui were shut down on 4/9/20 because of an issue with the cleaning contractor.  The facilities are now being cleaned by DOBOR staff and have been reopened.  


Q7. Can I use my boat to visit offshore islets (the Mokulua islets and others) in the Main Hawaiian Islands? 

Unfortunately no.  DLNR announced by press release on 4/13/20 that these areas are being closed due to Covid-19.

The prohibition on landing on Ahu O Laka (aka the Sandbar, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu) has been lifted.  Vessels visiting Ahu o Laka MUST moor at least 20 feet apart.  All visitors MUST practice social distancing AND adhere to safety guidelines according to published requirements. PLEASE NOTE: Abuse of the social distancing guidelines could result in Ahu O Laka being shut down again.

As a reminder, alcohol, narcotics and non-prescription drugs are prohibited at Ahu O Laka on Memorial Day weekend, beginning at 12:01am Saturday (5/23) and ending at 11:59pm Monday  (5/25) under HAR 13-256.73.13.


Q8.  Is Heeia Kea SBH open?

Heeia Kea SBH ramps and trailer parking are open for all uses.  The Heeia Kea SBH office remains closed to the public.  Social gatherings on the water are discouraged. 

Please see update on landing at Ahu O Laka in Kaneohe Bay in Q7 on this page. 




Q9. How does the shutdown affect commercial operators?

All CUPs are suspended. You should cease operation until the all-clear signal is given. We have no target date for giving clearance to resume normal operations.


Q10. If I cannot operate, do I still need to pay monthly fees?

All commercial permittees moored in the small boat harbors shall be required to pay the regular mooring rate and not two times the rate as long as they are not conducting any commercial activity. They will go back to paying two times the regular mooring rate or 3% of gross, whichever is greater, once they start operating again. Commercial permittees that have commercial use permits just for the use of the state waters i.e. surf schools, kayak companies, etc. will not have to pay the minimum permit fee of $300 until they can start work again.  As it stands now, this would only apply to the month of April 2020. We will charge $200 for the month of March since DOBOR began notifying the commercial operators after the middle of the month.


Q11. What is the expected timeline until the suspended commercial permits will be re-instated?

Unfortunately, we cannot accurately estimate this timeline. Reinstatement of commercial use permits will depend on the surrounding situation. As of the date of this letter, Governor Ige’s Third Supplemental Proclamation from March 23, 2020 issues a statewide stay-at-home order taking effect on March 25, 2020 at 12:01am and lasting until 11:59pm on April 30, 2020.  Based on this timeline, we anticipate reinstating commercial use permits on May 1, 2020.  Again, this is only tentative and will depend on the situation involving the COVID-19 pandemic.


Q12. Are commercial permittees able to use their boats for recreational activities?

Yes, to the extent that such recreational use is consistent with all orders issued by the respective Mayors or Governor Ige, as well as all future orders.


Q13. Will there be an extension for any permittees in the harbor, whether recreational or commercial, for any money owed or deadlines pertaining to slips, commercial permits, forms or any other DLNR-DOBOR requirements?  Will DOBOR be freezing any fees while commercial permittees are not allowed to operate?

DOBOR has not yet determined if extensions will be granted. However, DOBOR will implement the following fee revisions for the stay-at-home period ordered Governor Ige’s Third Supplemental Proclamation from March 23, 2020:

  • Commercial permittees with a vessel moored in a DOBOR facility will only pay the regular mooring rate and not double the mooring rate for the month of April 2020.
  • Commercial permittees with a permit just for the shoreline (e.g., surf instruction schools, kayak companies, etc.) will only be required to pay $200 for the month of March 2020. The $300 fee for the month of April 2020 will be waived.
  • For the reasons stated above in your first question, the tentative timeline to reinstate all commercial use permits and fees is May 1, 2020.


Q14. Who should operators call for harbor maintenance during the closure? For example, if the mooring securing their boat breaks?

Notices have been posted at each harbor facility that include emergency contact information.


Q15. Is the state working on a stimulus package for commercial operators to sustain and re-establish their businesses? Many of these companies have been paying DLNR-DOBOR 3% of their gross revenues monthly, some for decades. These fees have added to millions in revenue for the state. Will the state be helping them back?

This matter is not within DLNR’s jurisdiction to decide.


Q16. Can the harbor restrooms reopen? This does not seem like the time to limit hygiene when the CDC is recommending people wash their hands as often as possible.

All small boat harbor facility restrooms have been opened according to the Center of Disease Control guidelines to provide facilities for the homeless population.


Q17. Going forward, will permittees get any official notice directly from DLNR-DOBOR regarding their permits? Many commercial permittees were confused when they learned of the suspension of their permits through social media and the local news. With so much miss-information circling around on social media platforms, Permittees need to know that the information they are receiving is coming from a reliable source to maintain confidence in the information they are receiving.

Each harbor facility was posted with notices that included contact information in the event there were any questions or issues with the facility. Updates are being put on the website whenever possible and can be reviewed at: Additionally, it is recommended that people monitor the following official government communications:


Q18. If permittees continue to operate commercially, what are the consequences?

Violators may be subject to criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment, and civil penalties, including administrative fines, and cancellation or non-renewal of their commercial use permits.




Q19. I usually walk to the harbor office to pay my slip fees.  How do I do that if the harbor office is closed?

Please send your payment to the appropriate harbor office via mail.


Q20. I’m supposed to do a buoy run to keep my permit in force.  How does the closure affect that procedure?

DOBOR harbor offices are closed and will reopen tentatively on 5/1/20. Please contact your respective harbor office when it reopens.


Q21. I am a harbor tenant .  How does the closure affect my shower privileges?

All private showers for tenants are open.




Q22. I submitted a request for a Boater Safety Education Card through the DOBOR Registry form page.  When can I expect my card?

DOBOR will process all pending requests beginning 4/2/20. We will attempt to send out cards earlier if conditions allow us to.




Q23. If your offices are closed, how do I register my boat?

If you received your renewal notice in the mail, you can respond via US Postal Service (mail). You can also use the online vessel registration system. Requests for transfers can only be done by mail.  Be sure that your request for a transfer is accompanied by all the necessary documentation and that the signature of the immediate past owner is notarized on the bill of sale. Processing of registration and transfer requests will be delayed.  Remember that all vessels 26” and greater in length are required to be insured.  Include proof of insurance and highlight language in the policy according to instructions on DOBOR’s instruction page for mandatory insurance found at:

Forms you may need for registration and transfers are available on the DOBOR form page:


This page was last updated 05/18/20.