Officials propose stricter rules for Hawaii harbors

HONOLULU, Hawaii (AP) ― Hawaii officials are proposing several rule changes for state harbors in response to ongoing concerns, including limitations on alcohol consumption and a ban on feeding wildlife and feral animals.

Residents will have a chance to comment on the proposed changes during public hearings in March, Hawaii News Now reported.

Under one proposed rule, the state wants to confine alcohol consumption to boats and prevent drinking in other parts of the harbors. The regulations would be similar to county laws regarding open alcohol containers.

“People come in, they’re drinking at night, they’re partying in the parking lot, things like that, broken bottles in the morning,” said Ed Underwood, administrator for the state’s Boating Division.

Tom Gann, who lives on his vessel at Oahu’s Ala Wai Boat Harbor, said the unregulated drinking poses a safety risk.

“We’ve had several people fall in the water because they’ve been too drunk, so confining the alcohol consumption to the boat isn’t a bad idea either,” Gann said.

The state is also looking to address concerns that boaters are skirting rules on how long they can be anchored in certain areas.

The current rules allow boaters to drop anchor anywhere in state waters for up to 72 hours before they have to move.

“What’s happening is that after the 72 hours expires, people move their boats 10 feet and they say now I get another 72 hours,” Underwood said.

New regulations would require boaters to leave their anchoring area entirely.

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