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.

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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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