Maui Discussion

Ask the Mayor: Should Our Public Pools Have a ‘Bikini Code?’

September 21, 2015, 7:14 AM HST
* Updated September 27, 12:00 PM
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Kahului Pool located at 145 Kaulawahine Street. File photo courtesy County of Maui.

Kahului Pool located at 145 Kaulawahine Street. File photo courtesy County of Maui.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Dear Mayor Arakawa,

Q: My 6-year-old son loves going to all the Maui County pools. However, lately he has asked, “Mom, why is that lady’s butt hanging out?” The woman was wearing a thong. In the last year, families (others have noticed besides myself) have seen an increase in young women, ages teen to 35, wearing scantily clad thong bikini bottoms as well as a few tops just barely covering nipples. I know swimwear cannot be dictated on the beach but shouldn’t our Maui County pools be more family-friendly and respectful for Maui’s young children? This isn’t Las Vegas after all!

A: We are very glad that you and your son enjoy our pools. Thank you for your patronage. Our county pools do have clothing restrictions, but not the kind to which you are referring. Swimmers can’t wear cut-off jeans, cotton shirts or other street clothes because those materials cause serious problems for our filters. Swimsuits should be made from Lycra, nylon or other filter-safe materials.

While Maui has an indecent exposure law, to my knowledge, neither the County Code nor parks rules dictate the style or coverage of bathing suit attire at county pools. Aquatics staff do have to inform some international visitors who don’t know they shouldn’t change into their swimsuit in the pool area, and should use the restrooms instead. Other than that however, under current county policy it is up to parents to decide what is appropriate or inappropriate for their own children to wear at the pool, just as it is up to adults to decide what they want to wear.

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You may want to use the opportunity with your son to teach him about your views of modesty and appropriate attire.

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Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.

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