Sandbar safety


POSTED: Monday, September 07, 2009

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Coast Guard will continue stepped-up patrols today at the popular Ahu o Laka sandbar in Kaneohe.

As many as 300 boaters gather at the sandbar on holiday weekends, and this year the state has set up a information booth on boating safety at Heeia Kea pier and will be patrolling regularly to make sure boaters have a safe voyage.

The stepped-up enforcement is a continuation of efforts after a brawl at the sandbar on Labor Day two years ago.

“;There's more presence by the DLNR and Coast Guard, which is good. People used to get out of hand (with the) alcohol,”; said Keoni Yen, a regular at Ahu o Laka sandbar.

At the state information booth, boaters were able to renew expired registration and trailer stickers. The DLNR also loaned life vests to adults and children and handed out free safety equipment.

;[Preview]  DLNR Relieved Over Kaneohe Bay Turnout

Poor weather and tide conditions made for lower numbers in Kaneohe Bay partiers over the Labor Day weekend.

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“;We're trying very hard to give people the tools so they can enjoy the weekend without (having their voyage) being terminated,”; said Clifford Inn, boating safety education specialist for the boating division.

State enforcement officers and the Coast Guard are monitoring safe-boating laws and looking for expired safety equipment and registration.

Enforcement officers terminated two boating trips yesterday for lack of safety equipment, boarded five vessels yesterday and issued nine warnings, said DLNR spokeswoman Debbie Ward.

Conditions were not prime at the sandbar yesterday, with high tide, choppy water and occasional rain showers, but more than 40 boaters turned up anyway. One party set up a tent in knee-high water, while a cooler lay on a table underneath. Teenagers threw footballs around, while other swimmers lounged with beer bottles.

It is not illegal to drink on boats, but it is against the law to operate a boat under the influence.

“;We just want people to be aware of their surroundings, be aware of other people and have a good time yet be safe at the same time,”; said Meghan Statts of the boating division.





        State Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement officers and the Coast Guard will be patrolling Kaneohe Bay today to enforce safety laws. Below are some of the violations that could end a boating trip:

» Insufficient number of life vests
        » Insufficient fire extinguishers
        » Overloading beyond safe loading capacity
        » Improper navigation light display
        » Fuel leakage
        » Lack of proper numbering and permit stickers
        » Expired vessel registration
        » Boating under the influence