Hawaii: Authorities up the ante on anchor damage to coral
Published 9 years ago, updated 5 years ago
Under Hawaii’s newly amended coral rules, which took effect on May 1, each damaged coral head or colony less than one square meter in surface area is a separate specimen. For colonies greater than that, each square meter and any remaining fraction thereof constitutes a separate specimen.
In addition to penalties, administrative fines of up to $1,000 per specimen may apply.
The violation is a petty misdemeanor offense, subject to a criminal fine of a minimum $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense, and $1,000 for a third or subsequent offense.
It was reported that approximately 80 feet of the chain was in the water, with about 30 to 40 feet of it in the coral.
The citation was given out by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE).
It was thanks to a swimmer who photographed and reported the damage to a Kailua pier security officer with the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation. The officer then contacted DOCARE, who investigated and cited the boat owner.
by Khon2/Sail-World Cruising
This article does not accurately represent the facts. We are a UK registered yacht temporarily transiting north through Hawaii and know the German vessel concerned.
The solo sailor had recently arrived from Mexico on route to Alaska, checking in through Hilo on the big island of Hawaii. He then moved location to Honokohau Kona for more weather protection and was refused entry by the harbourmaster into the small boat harbor due to no slip berths being available for foreign vessels. The harbourmaster directed the yacht concerned to the Kona bay where he was told he could anchor and provided a location to do so.
The anchor was dropped on sand but the chain drifted onto uncharted coral when the wind shifted. The bay concerned provided poor shelter and is untenable in certain conditions.
The yacht concerned was following instructions provided and has now engaged a lawyer, with the support of other foreign yacht skippers, to defend his case.
This incident demonstrates the increasing hostility shown towards foreign sailing yachts using the Islands for shelter and transit. The US authorities insist on time limit permits and closely regulate foreign yachts under the guise of homeland security.
Yachts leave the Islands when permits expire rather than when safe weather dictates. Vessels are put into compromising positions by instruction against the skipper’s better judgement and this particular vessel did not choose to anchor in the location the swimmer found the damaged Corel. The Corel was poor quality as the police photography confirms.
The new law was enacted on the 1st May as the article correctly states and the citation was issued against the vessel concerned on the 2nd May. Correct citation procedures have not been properly followed and the lawyer engaged confidently expects the case to be dismissed.