Makai Watch Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What is Makai Watch?

  • Makai Watch is an official DLNR program that enhances protection of nearshore and coastal resources by providing community members opportunities to work and interact with resource managers and enforcement officers in their community.

What is DLNRs role in Makai Watch?

  • The DLNR provides support through three of its division with jurisdiction and management of marine and coastal resources. These divisions include, the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), and the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR)

What is the role of Makai Watch communities?

  • The Makai Watch program site plays an important role as the eyes and ears of DOCARE. In addition, the community will also be required to be compliant with program standards and requirements, and provide 20 hours of volunteer time each month.

What are the benefits of Makai Watch?

Effective Stewardship: DOCARE and DAR can better manage and enforce resource regulations given the information shared by the Site Programs.

Improve Relationships: DOCARE, DAR and Site Programs have a foundation to build the necessary relationships to mutually improve the protection and communication concerning the management of resources and cherished regions where the com-munity is organized and engaged

Trained Volunteers: DLNR will assist the MW programs to access training and mentoring in MW activities

Outreach and Event Support: DLNR will pro-vide support for Education and outreach events

DLNR Endorsement: DLNR will endorse recog-nized Site Programs that are in good standing as they seek financing and other support to operate their programs.

 Is there any funding for Makai Watch?

  • Funding for the State Makai Watch program and coordinator has been supported by grants provided by the Conservation International and the Harold K. Castle Foundation. With the official recognition of the Makai Watch program by the DLNR, the DOCARE will include the State Makai Watch Coordinator position in their budget request to institutionalize the position within DLNR-DOCARE.
  • Individual site programs can apply for grants and funding and receive letters of support from relevant agencies within DLNR.

How do I join Makai Watch?

  • If you would like to volunteer with a Makai Watch program you can find a Makai Watch site program near you. There are 8 Makai Watch Site programs throughout the state (Ha’ena, Hanalei, Pupukea, Maunalua, Kaanapali, Ka’ehu, Puako, Ka’upulehu).  There is a volunteer application and screening process, as well as volunteer training in Observation and Incident Reporting, as well as Awareness Raising and Outreach thru the ‘Ike Kai Curriculum. 

What is the ‘Ike Kai curriculum?

  • ‘Ike Kai: “to know, feel, experience, be aware of, and comprehend the ocean”
  • The `Ike Kai Project began in 2014 with the goal to support the MW site programs by providing a foundation in marine science, resource management, and traditional knowledge. The aims of the program are to increase MW volunteers’ baseline knowledge of marine sciences, marine resource management, and traditional knowledge, to inform community biological monitoring projects, outreach activities, and marine conservation projects, and to strengthen the relationship between MW volunteers and resource management agencies. 

How is the Makai Watch program organized?

  • The MW program is guided by a Makai Watch Advisory Group. This group consist of the DLNR Chair, DOCARE, DAR, and the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.  Also on the advisory group are program partners and sponsors included Project SEA link, Hawaii Wildlife Fund, Kua’aina Ulu Auamo, the Hawaii Nature Conservancy, Conservation International Hawaii, and the Harold K. Castle Foundation.

Will there be someone to assist communities in becoming a compliant Makai Watch community?

  • There is a Statewide Makai Watch coordinator that is available to assist communities in complying with program requirements. Requirements include a sponsoring organization, a community coordinator, providing 20 hours of volunteer time per month, volunteer training, as well as program evaluation.

Does our community need to be a 501c3?

  • However, a requirement of the Makai Watch program is to be sponsored by an organization that can conduct business in Hawaii.  This sponsoring agency will provide the MW community the ability to conduct financial transactions such as seeking or receiving grant funds.  So if a community is not a 501c3, and not able to conduct business in Hawaii, they must be sponsored by an entity that is able.

Who participated in creating the Makai Watch Strategy?

  • The Makai Watch Strategy was a collaborative process inclusive of the DLNR Chair, DAR, DOCARE, HIHWNMS, the Hawaii Nature Conservancy, Kua’aina Ulu Auamo, Conservatoin International, Harold K Castle Foundation, Coral Reef Alliance, and the Hawaii Wildlife fund. In addition, community participants from Makai Watch programs across the state also participated in strategy development.

Will there be program expansion to include more communities?

  • As of now the DOCARE has limited capacity to support communities, at this time we currently support 8 communities statewide. As communities are trained and build capacity for their organization, our goal is to include those communities in the future.

What if my community is not a Makai Watch program but I want to learn more?

  • There are trainings that are provided by the Makai Watch program. These include an Observatoin and Incident Reporting training that provides volunteers with critical information needed by DOCARE in order to provide an efficient response and follow-up.  There is also an Awareness Raising and Outreach training.  This training was developed from an ‘Ike Kai curriculum, which provides volunteers with information and background on marine biology, ecology, as well as DLNR processes and procedures, and even cultural knowledge on the marine environment and resources.

How can my community get involved?

  • Your community can become involved by reviewing the community application and contacting the Statewide Makai Watch Coordinator with any further questions or clarifications.

What are Makai Watch volunteers responsible for?

  • MW volunteers serve as the “eyes and ears” of DOCARE. MW volunteers have NO ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY!   As a MW volunteer, you can participate in the two components of the MW program, Observation and Incident Reporting, and Awareness Raising and Outreach.