Commercial Ocean Recreational Activities Now Require Permits Statewide
By Maui Now Staff
Overcrowding of inland ocean areas have prompted new rules for commercial sea operations. Any company or individual conducting commercial activities in state small boat harbors, facilities, and near shore waters are now required to contact the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation for a permit.
“This includes surf and stand-up paddle boarding schools, kayaking companies, snorkeling and scuba diving tours and any type of commercial recreational activity happening in state waters,” explained DOBOR Administrator Ed Underwood.
Commercial permits were previously only required for use of state harbors, but high demands on near-shore water resources resulting in overcrowding prompted the change, according to Underwood.
Underwood further explained, “We are pushing out local families, who for instance, can’t get into popular surf breaks because there are so many commercial surf schools using these breaks. This gives the state the mechanism for regulating these types of activities and any new activities that may be on the horizon.”
Permits can be obtained from DOBOR offices statewide. Those seeking a permit must fill out a questionnaire to get familiar with the new rules. Permit fees cost $200 per month, or 3 percent of gross receipts–whichever is greater. Ocean recreation businesses working out of a private or county facility are only required to pay the minimum of $200 per month. Businesses already paying 3 percent of gross receipts for a harbor commercial use permit will not be required to pay additional fees for the new permit to use state ocean waters.
The new requirements were adopted by the Board of Land and Natural Resources in April 2014, and signed into law by the governor in September, following two years of statewide public meetings.
Those found conducting commercial activities without a permit could be cited, fined, or possibly have their equipment seized. The DLNR/DOBOR wants to inform the public about the new rules to ensure permits are acquired where necessary. Gauging the number of permits issued will help inform management decisions concerning activities in state waters now and in the future. More information can be found at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dobor.