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Maui Company Ordered to Cease Commercial Beach Activities

By David Kvasnicka

Photos taken by DLNR staff of the unauthorized commercial activities on Wailea Beach by Maui Ocean Activities. Photo courtesy of DLNR.

Photos taken by DLNR staff of the unauthorized commercial activities on Wailea Beach by Maui Ocean Activities. Photo courtesy of DLNR.

Kayak and snorkeling company Maui Ocean Activities has been ordered to cease unauthorized beach activities by the Board of Land and Natural Resources.

The company was found to be engaging in “unauthorized commercial activities conducted on state unencumbered lands at Wailea Beach” by Department of Land and Natural Resources staff.

DLNR staff were in the area after receiving ongoing complaints of beach use violations, including the “pre-setting of beach chairs” and commercial activities.

They discovered Maui Ocean Activities to have kayaks set up and left unattended on the beach for at least 20 minutes, and later conducting kayak instruction on the beach involving 13 people, plus the instructor, for another 10 minutes.

A sales associate at the company’s concession stand on the privately-owned Grand Wailea property confirmed to DLNR staff that the group was connected with Maui Ocean Activities.

The DLNR recommended to the board that the company be fined $1,000 plus $420 in administrative costs, to be paid within 30 days of notice, and then fined $1000 per day that commercial activities continue.

The board later waived the initial fine during its July 26 session on the condition that Maui Ocean Activities agree to immediately cease the practice, with the understanding that “if the operator commits a violation in the future, such violation would be considered a second violation warranting a higher fine under HRS 171-6(15).”

The board retained the DLNR’s recommendation of a daily $1,000 fine for each day the violations continue, according to DLNR spokesperson Laura Stevens.

The DLNR also remarked in the complaint against Maui Ocean Activities that the “Maui District Land Office had received numerous complaints from the public regarding overcrowding of shoreline areas due to vendors… awaiting the arrival of clients or during instruction.

“The public has for generations utilized specific areas for family outings and recreational activities and is now being forced out of these areas because of the impacts brought about by the presence of unauthorized commercial operators.”

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  • amazed

    This seems like a separate issue from the hotels hogging all the beach with THEIR umbrellas and chairs.

    • Maui_Mike

      I think your right, judging by the story they are two separate issues, so that leaves the question of will they be told to stop or do they get a pass because they are a big hotel…Hmmm

  • Bababui

    They should ban ALL the Kayak, Surf, Scuba, Kiting, and Paddle boarding companies at all the beaches, island wide. Every where I go on this island I run into companies teaching people to do sporting stuff or renting gear. Enough is enough!

    • AntiToad

      I’ll second that!!! Wasn’t like this before. And guess where all those operators are from? I’m guessing not locals (and please, don’t ask me to define “locals”).

      • Maui Resident

        Yes there is a Hawaiian group of men that give outrigger rides in this same location. Their large outrigger is on the beach. Nice men, for sure, and great activity for guest and locals to enjoy. Why do people always have to be so negative.

        • lolo

          I’m outraged! How dare they!

        • papito

          F them. If Maui Ocean Activities cant run a business on the beach then no one can. I dont care if your Hawaiian from peles akole, whats good for them is good for all.

    • Maui Resident

      There are plenty of beaches with no activity. OMG. Stop complaining.

      • stand alone

        How many do you know that has no business on it. And name those beaches. I really don’t think you can.
        I’m taking about nice and easy to get to beaches

    • Maui_Mike

      It is part of living here, if it were Texas it would be cowboy related, New Orleans it would be jazz.
      We live on an island with a tourism driven economy in the middle of the ocean, so of course there are beach activities and those who make money from it, perhaps you are unhappy here and should think Wisconsin, they have nothing there I hear!

  • South Maui Resident 27 years!

    THat is BS. It’s an approved business that gives shares of profit to Grand Wailea! This is crazy. GW itself presets umbrellas. and so does the other hotels. Political BS. Sad Sad Sad.

  • Surfer girl

    Maui Ocean Activities is the concession for Grand Wailea, they have been there for years. They provide activities/ocean services for the guests. The white beach chairs/unbrellas are maintained by the hotel NOT MOA (at least years ago that was the case). What is wrong with MOA having kayaks on the beach for 20 minutes, then giving a 10 minute land lesson to the guests?? Where is the problem?? The DLNR should go after all the illegal surf and kayak companies at guardrails, Ukus and the 14 mile marker…. Yes, 50 beach chairs on the beach with no one on them close to the ocean, those should be gone, but those are from the recreation/towel staff at the hotel. This is such an old issue, wasn’t the Sheraton fined years ago for chairs near the ocean? Perhaps the state should employee more than the 4 or 5 DLNR guys working for all of Maui County… That is where the problem actually is…

    • Dakine

      Thats ironic cause its the beach chairs is what this whole thing is about. Why are they targeting the kayak business if the kayaks are only out for short periods of time when the chairs are out ALL DAY LONG??

  • ttomni6

    This beach is already ruined for the locals because of all the chairs, umbrellas, cabanas provided by the hotel.

    I used to work at the Grand Wailea and when a few of us walked the beach path (and this was even before the huge increase in the chairs and umbrellas), we would always talk amongst ourselves and say, “we would never pay to stay here” because of what they did to the beach THEN!

    I hate to lose the beaches to the locals, but if they’re going to f**k up Maui – which all the business interests seem to want to do – keep it by the hotels. And a note to the concierges – please don’t tell them to come to the better beaches!!! Keep ‘em at the hotel.

  • PirateJ

    Nice pictures. It looks like they were taken on a Sony Mavica Camera with a 3.5″ 1.4 mb floppy drive… Am I right???

  • you don’t understand???

    I think the problem here is that a public beach is a public beach not a business beach. And if any hote l hires a business to run any activity from that hotel. That hotel should keep it on its own property. Example: for kayaking, the kayaking business should instruct and teaching the people on the hotels property, and when the teaching is done then the people can drag the kayak onto beach and into the water. That’s the correct way of doing it. I would think. No one would be doing any businesses on the public beaches . I think some people don’t under stand the concept. What they can and can’t do with their business.

  • Shrimp

    Stand Alone
    I am not familiar with all the beaches where commercial activities are not permitted but there are quite a few. On the Southside no commercial activites are permitted on the Cove Park beach, Charlie Young, Kam I, II, and III, and Makena Big Beach. I don’t think there are regulations against activities at Changs/Po’o elenalena or Secret Beach, but, I have never seen any there. There are also almost never any commercial activites along the entire stretch of Sugar Beach. On the West Side commercial activities are not permitted at Baldwin Beach (sometimes there are violations there) nor at Puamana. Commercial activities are not permitted at Ho’okipa on the North Shore either. There are also lots of places like Honokahau, Honomanu, and Hamoa in less accessible areas that a lot of us who live here prefer to go to anyway.
    That having been said, Commercial Activity Companies need to adhere to the rules and regulations regardless whether or not the one next to them does. Once one does not, it spreads like a bad rash. It is unfortunate that these companies are some of the most regulated on the island. At least one of these companies has contact with almost every visitor here and believe it or not most also serve many locals. They are a huge part of the economy and under appreciated but because they have become so numerous they also MUST abide by the regulations so that they do not destroy the natural resources that put them in business in the first place.

    • lolo

      I have seen commercial activities at Cove Park, Charlie Young, and Kam III.

    • lolo

      Lol, at Hookipa. Every other board there is a rental. Nice try.

    • lolo

      Plus they run big event at Hookipa which shuts down the beach for weeks on end, depending on the size of the event.

    • lolo

      You can also get surf, or wave sailing lesson at Hookipa.

      • ub

        No you cant.

        • WRider

          I agree with Lolo, cause I have gotten wave sailing instruction at Hookipa before. All you have to do is hire an instructor and they will teach you. Have done this three times so far.

  • Shrimp

    Lolo-you don’t understand what a Commercial Activity is if you think that rental boards being used constitutes a commercial activity. Also, surfing competitions are not commercial activites. Yes, they have commercial sponsors but they are for the surfers, the very sport that is attributed to creation here and participated in by locals and surfers from around the world. If you think participation/use of public lands is exclusive to locals you are mistaken. The cmmmercial suers that you see in the waters off of Cove park are not allowed to launch from the beach at the cove. They are not restricted froom the waters. The issue here was beaches. If you have seen guided activites by permittd commercial companies or ones without permits at Charlei young or a Kamaole beach you should report it. What commercial activity do you think you saw there?

    • lolo

      Surfing events generate income. ergo, commercial activity. You can candy coat it any way you like but that is a reality. There are sponsor income, registration income, tshirt sales, and food sales. The event organizers pay their expenses just like any other business and then the profits are theirs, minus the percentage the county takes. I used to do the books for one of the largest surf competitions at Hookipa, so I know the brass tacks on that one.

  • Shrimp

    Lolo, the type of activity and ongoing “interference’ with the publics enjoyment of the beach by ongoing use outside of the permitted use by commercial/business activities was the original topic. You seem to be only interested in trying to disprove information provided. So, I stand corrected. A surf competition is not an ongoing business (weekly) but they are occassional events which are also permitted and regulated. The type of commercial activites that the discussion began with is not permitted at Ho’okipa-check the CORA regulations. If the surf competition operators were non-compliant with their permits they should also be taken to task. I responded with a list of beaches where Commercial Operators of Recreational Activities are not permitted to conduct activites as an answer to a previous poster. You seem to want to have a different agenda. If you see activites which you belive are in violation of county ordinances or regulations report them. My point was, and it stands, that there are a number of places where the beaches are still available for recreation by those not engaged in activities for hire. The beaches are not empty because those of us who love them are out there using them with our own or rented equipment. Go enjoy a beach.

  • BigB

    I’m going to hang out right in those chairs from now on. I will tell their Guests that these chairs are not legally there. I dare the Hotel staff to tell Me to leave. Call the cops, They will just laugh.
    Would be so cool to have a group of folks go down there and remove the Hotels chairs from the beach for them. Anyone game ?

    • williwilli

      Make it happen and I am sure MPD will enjoy it. :) We’ll see who they side with. ;)

  • Aloha Joe

    Yes, after all if all those beach activities stopped and tourists all went away to somewhere else, we could have us another paradise like, say, Haiti… which fr
    om my visit to a “local” beach on Wed, it kinda looked like; garbage, dog poop, even underwear .. Yup, those nasty tourists and hotels just need to disappear!


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