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Ask the Mayor: What’s The Laws on Nude Sunbathing?

July 30, 2018, 2:57 PM HST · Updated August 2, 8:04 AM
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Maui Now Stock Photo.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his staff.

Dear Mayor Alan Arakawa,

Q: I’m not a prude and don’t mind people showing off some skin at the beach, but people strutting their stuff in front of the wife and kids is a little too much. I have this expectation that if there are nude sunbathers I’ll stay on my side of the beach and they stay on theirs. Is that too much to ask? What does the law say about this sort of thing?

A: We get the “nude sunbathing” question every summer it seems. The answer from the Maui Police Department is the same so I will post a past response here:

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In talking with our Maui Police Department, they said that officers will respond to calls involving “open lewdness,” which is the law people violate when they expose themselves publicly. However, MPD recommends using two phone numbers for two different scenarios.

If the person in question is nude but keeping to themselves, i.e. “passively” sunbathing, then police recommend calling their administrative line at (808) 244-6400. If the person in question is being aggressive, exposing themselves to people and engaging in other forms of harassment, people should call 9-1-1.

Police will respond in both cases but obviously there is a higher priority placed on the second scenario.

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Some people have asked whether they should take a picture of the nude sunbather with their cell phones as evidence for police when they arrive, but this is not necessary. Also, you run the risk of turning a passive situation into a confrontation if the individual sees you taking their picture. Better to let police handle the situation.

Want to ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email:AskTheMayor@mauicounty.gov, phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793.  Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.

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