Hawaii boaters plan to contact Tsuneyoshi
Last Sunday's Water Ways column apparently created something of a stir among our island boaters.
The subject of the column was Raynor Tsuneyoshi, the director of California's Department of Boating and Waterways, and how he has offered to help Hawaii improve its recreational boating programs.
No sooner had the Star-Bulletin hit the newsstands than questions began filling my e-mail in-box. And perhaps because Big Island boaters have formed an ad hoc committee to study that county's possible takeover of its small boat harbors from the state, many came from boaters in Hilo and Kona.
The first question from nearly everyone was, "How do I contact Mr. Tsuneyoshi?" And the second was, "How does California's program differ from Hawaii's?"
Fortunately, the answer to both questions can be found at the DBW's very comprehensive Web site at www.dbw.ca.gov, where I learned how very different it is from our Division of Boating and Ocean Resources.
The primary distinction is that the DBW doesn't operate or maintain California's marinas directly. Rather, it is a facilitator to local governments as well as to private marina operators.
With funding from vessel registration fees, boating fuel tax dollars and boating facility construction loan payments, the DBW's programs include financial aid and equipment grants for more than 100 local and state agencies that provide boating law enforcement.
It also plans and develops boating facilities in environmentally acceptable areas, with priority on developing or expanding facilities where the greatest needs exist.
The DBW may grant or loan funds to cities, counties, and other governmental agencies for the planning and construction of small craft harbors, and provide loans to small businesses for the development of recreational marina facilities.
The Web site also notes it will provide grants for boating education, vessel sewage pump-out stations and to help local agencies pay for abandoned vessel removal.
Finally, there is a commission to advise the DBW on all matters within its jurisdiction. It is composed of seven members who are appointed by the governor and confirmed by California's senate, and each commissioner's term runs for four years.
In making appointments to the commission, the governor is required to give primary consideration to the geographical location of the residences of members, as related to boating activities and harbors.
One member is required to be a private small craft harbor owner/operator, one member must belong to a recognized statewide organization for recreational boaters, and one member must be an officer or employee of a local law enforcement agency responsible for enforcing boating laws.
All of this sounds do-able of course, but the question remains; even with Tsuneyohi's help, do Hawaii's leaders have the political will and understanding of our recreational boating potential to make it happen?
You will hear it here first if they do.