Ask the Mayor: Should Drunk Swimmers Be Fined?

October 12, 2015, 10:42 AM HST · Updated October 12, 10:42 AM

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Ho’okipa. Image: Jack Dugan.

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

Aloha Mayor,

Q: I was at Ho‘okipa earlier this week and saw a woman jump into the ocean while the surf was huge. One of the lifeguards went out to save her, but I could see them arguing and she refused to get on his rescue board. Eventually there was a jet-ski that went out there and she finally got on. I heard later that she was drunk and throwing a fit in the water. I find this sort of irresponsible behavior reckless and a drain on our tax dollars. Can she be fined for having wasted time and resources of our lifeguards?

A: I heard about this incident and am glad our lifeguard persisted and called the jet-ski for backup. As she was intoxicated, she may have not realized the danger she was in, and if that’s the case, our lifeguards had a duty to get her out of trouble. Otherwise, if he had just given up and gone back to shore, she might have drowned. I believe our lifeguard made the right decision and I am proud of his actions.


Want to Ask the Mayor?

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

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