Coast Guard increasing on-water presence off Oahu during Spring Break

HONOLULU — The Coast Guard will be expanding its presence with increased patrols over the weekend by Coast Guard Station Honolulu boarding teams.

Each year the influx of college students and tourists arriving to Waikiki Bay during Spring Break generates numerous on-water safety concerns. In previous years, large flotillas 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’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.

Alcohol and drugs can cause impaired balance, blurred vision, poor coordination, impaired judgment, and slower reaction times. Alcohol is a major contributor to boating accidents and fatalities.

  • Hawaii state law prohibits anyone from boating while intoxicated – that is, operating a vessel while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotics, or other habit-forming drugs.
  • Hawaii state law says that a person is considered to be boating while intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more within four hours after the time of the alleged violation.
  • Under Hawaii 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.
  • By operating a vessel in Hawaii state waters, boaters have consented to be tested for alcohol or drugs if requested by a law enforcement official.
  • Since 2014 all individuals who operate a motorized vessel in Hawaii’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.

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