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Diver Fatality Prompts Review of Boating Laws

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   November 23rd, 2011 · 1 Disqus Comment · Maui News

By Wendy Osher

Lanai, file photo by Wendy Osher.

The Maui Council’s Policy Committee unanimously recommended adoption of a resolution yesterday, urging review and strengthening of the state boating law and related rules.

The resolution comes in direct response to a July 31st incident outside of the Kamalapau breakwater on Lanai, in which a diver was fatally hit by a commercial Zodiac boat.

“Our community is still dealing with the loss of a beloved son of our island,” said Committee Chair Riki Hokama, who introduced the measure.

Hokama said the tragedy has heightened the need for better safety practices in the ocean waters surrounding the island, which are frequented by boaters and divers alike.

Hokama pointed to testimony received from a Lanai resident urging stronger enforcement and specific regulatory improvements.

Administrative rules already require underwater swimmers or divers in navigable waters of the state to mark their position with a divers flag; the rules also limit all vessels on waters of the state to a slow-no-wake speed when within 200 feet of any divers flag.

The resolution also urges action by the State Legislature and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to consider requiring an owner or operator of a boat registered in the state to take a safe boating course.

Further discussion is expected to surface at the council’s December 2nd meeting.

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  • A safe boater

    What does this accident have to do with taking a safe boating course? The idiot driving the tour boat was a licensed captain and has taken a course way more advanced than the recreational boating course. He just was negligent and no class in the world can prevent that. I have driven a boat for almost 30 years with no problems. All you need is common sense. Boating is already a inherently dangerous thing. When these tour boats go hot rodding around to "THRILL" the tourist they compound that danger and then it becomes just a matter of time until an accident.