Coast Guard Has Concerns With Kailua Bay Fireworks Show

HONOLULU (D14 Public Affairs) – The U.S. Coast Guard today told the vendor hired to stage a Kailua Beach Park July 4th fireworks show that serious safety deficiencies in its operational plan have not been corrected and the plan cannot be approved in its current state.

Capt. Barry Compagnoni, the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Honolulu, said the Coast Guard has been working for months with this particular vendor to help it come into compliance with federal safety regulations.

“It’s unfortunate because we know how important these shows are to the general public and we do not want to stand in the way,” said Compagnoni, the Coast Guard officer ultimately responsible for ensuring the fireworks show’s public safety plan is sound. “But in this case, there are just far too many safety concerns for the Coast Guard to overlook.”

Specific safety concerns cited by Compagnoni include: the company’s planned use of a vessel with no record of Coast Guard inspections, no commercial history and no record of prior safe operation; and, a lack of information about the vessel’s specific position during the show.

Normally, offshore fireworks displays are staged from commercial barges and the Coast Guard establishes a safety zone around the vessel.

“We realize the impact this will have and we realize it may be an unpopular result, but our job is to ensure people are safe. The Coast Guard has approved three other plans — for Hawaii Kai, Kailua-Kona and Lahaina — in the last few weeks. So, certainly we are not standing in the way of any fireworks shows.”

Fireworks shows in Hawaii are vetted through a multi-agency permitting process involving federal, state and county authorities. The Kailua Town Council is listed as the sponsor of the planned Kailua Bay event.

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