East Hawaii News

New Permit Rules for Commercial Recreation Water Operations

January 23, 2015, 11:37 AM HST
* Updated January 23, 11:39 AM
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New permit requirements and rules for commercial recreational operations will go into effect for those who use state small boat harbors, facilities, and near shore waters.

According to the State of Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources Friday, permits from the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation will now be required for any company or individual who wishes to conduct commercial activity in the waters.

The new rules are a result of public meetings held throughout the state over the past two years. In April 2014, the final set of rules were adopted by the Board of Land and Natural Resources, and in September 2014, then-Governor Neil Abercrombie signed them into law.

“This includes surf and stand-up paddle boarding schools, kayaking companies, snorkeling and scuba diving tours and any type of commercial recreational activity happening in state waters,” DOBOR Administrator Ed Underwood explained.

Prior to the new set of rules, commercial permits were only necessary for those operating out of or using state harbors. Commercial operators conducting business from private marina’s or from the shore.


“There has been such a demand on near shore water resources that they are becoming overcrowded. We are pushing out local families, who for instance, can’t get into popular surf breaks because there are so many commercial surf schools using these breaks. This give the state the mechanism for regulating these types of activities and any new activities that may be on the horizon,” Underwood said.


Businesses can access the permits at DOBOR offices statewide. The process of seeking a permit includes filling out a questionnaire that contains information about rule compliance.

With the permit comes fees. Fees are $200 per month or three percent of gross receipts; whichever is greater.

Those operating out of private or county facilities will pay the minimum requirement of $200 each per month and those who currently pay three percent of gross receipts under a harbor commercial use permit are not required to pay additional fees.


Should a company be found without the proper permit, they may be cited, fined or potentially have their equipment confiscated.

To learn more about the new rules or to find information regarding permits, visit the DLNR DOBOR website.

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