Past “Floatillas” Prompt Increased Patrols During Spring Break
The Coast Guard and partner agencies will conduct increased patrols in offshore Oʻahu waters beginning this weekend to ensure safety of oceangoers during Spring Break.
Coast Guard officials say that each year an influx of college students and tourists arriving to Waikīkī Bay during Spring Break “generates numerous on-water safety concerns.” Agency officials say, “In previous years, large ‘floatillas’ have emerged encouraging the consumption of alcohol while on the water and pose a significant risk to public safety.”
The goal for the Coast Guard and State’s upcoming patrols is to ensure safety of life at sea by preventing search and rescue cases; however, enforcement actions that mitigate or deter illegal activities from escalating are also a top priority.
Hawaiʻi state law prohibits anyone from boating while intoxicated. Coast Guard officials called alcohol a major contributor to boating accidents and fatalities saying, “Alcohol and drugs can cause impaired balance, blurred vision, poor coordination, impaired judgment, and slower reaction times.”
Hawaiʻi state law says that a person is considered to be boating while intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more within four hours after the time of the alleged violation. Under Hawaiʻi state law, the penalties for boating while intoxicated include a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $1,000, imprisonment for up to 30 days, or both a fine and imprisonment.
Since 2014 all individuals who operate a motorized vessel in Hawaiʻi’s state waters must have taken a boating safety course and be able to show proof of certification. The regulations for compliance with BWI laws are a part of this course.