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DLNR Monitors Waikīkī’s Spring Break Flotilla

April 4, 2017, 11:45 AM HST
* Updated April 4, 1:03 PM
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DLNR photo of Saturday, April 1, 2017, flotilla at Waikīkī Beach

Parents of Big Island students attending college on O‘ahu may be happy to know that officers from the Department of Land and Natural Resources joined with county and federal partners on Saturday, April 1, to monitor the spring break “flotilla” at Waikīkī Beach.

DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement O‘ahu branch stationed officers with a patrol vessel and on six jet skis to ensure safety of life at sea and take any enforcement actions necessary to lessen or prevent illegal activities.

In addition, there were five plainclothes officers assisting Honolulu Police Department from shore.

There were several arrests made by Honolulu Police Department officers: under the influence of alcohol, illegal possession of alcohol and disorderly conduct.

Alcohol is a major contributor to boating accidents and fatalities.

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DOCARE officers issued 10 citations for alcohol prohititions.

DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers stationed offshore approximately 300 yards from Waikīkī Beach, monitored vessel traffic and providing support for the jet ski operators during a spring break celebration on April. 1, 2017.

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Hawai‘i state law prohibits anyone from boating while intoxicated—that is, operating a vessel while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotics, or other habit-forming drugs.

Since 2014 all individuals who operate a motorized vessel in Hawai‘i’s waters must have taken a boating safety course and be able to show proof of certification. The regulations for compliance with BWI laws are a part of this course.

One example of the effectiveness of on-water presence in a large crowd situation occurred Saturday when three DLNR Conservation and Resources Enforcement Officers were stationed offshore approximately 300 yards from the beach, monitoring vessel traffic and providing support for the jet ski operators.

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At about 4 p.m. DOCARE officer Carlton Helm spotted a surfer in distress. He immediately took action and piloted the patrol vessel approximately 100 yards to the location. Two men in the water were attempting to rescue a third man. They had him floating on a small boogie board. He was convulsing and coughing up a large amount of water that he had apparently ingested. The two citizen rescuers were yelling for help.

CREO Helm immediately called for a fellow jetski operator to assist. Fellow CREO Maui Lee responded to the area and loaded the convulsing subject on to his rescue sled. Officer Lee then maneuvered through the surf and a very crowded beach to the nearest lifeguard tower.

On the beach, Officer Lee was assisted by Ocean Safety personnel to get the subject to shore and on to Hawaii Emergency Medical Services ambulance.

Ocean Safety personnel expressed their gratitude and mentioned that the quick response of Officer Helm and his activating of his vessel blue lights alerted them to immediately call for an ambulance and advanced life support while Officer Lee brought in the ill man on his jetski through the crowded surf.

“I know these guys would consider this ‘just doing my job,’ but I want to let everyone know that our job entails vigilance for potential hazards and public safety,” said Robert Farrell, DLNR DOCARE chief, who was also part of the marine patrol that day. “If it wasn’t for Officer Helm’s awareness, this person might not have received prompt lifesaving attention. In addition, Officer Lee’s quick response and effective actions allowed the victim to receive prompt medical assistance.”

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