State to consider lifting Molokai thrillcraft ban

POSTED: May 7, 2008

KAUNAKAKAI — The state boating division will hold an informal meeting Thursday on Molokai to consider whether to legalize use of thrillcraft in the waters around the island.

“We understand a petition is being circulated on Molokai to demonstrate public support for legalizing Jet Ski riding,” said Laura Thielen, chairwoman of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources.

She said the staff of the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation will hold the public meeting from 2 to 3 p.m. Thursday at the Mitchell Pauole Center to hear directly from residents on what concerns they have on operations of thrillcraft around the island.

A similar meeting will be scheduled for Lanai, she said.

Thrillcraft are defined as motorized vessels up to 13 feet long, capable of carrying up to three people. It includes watercraft such as Jet Skis as well as small speedboats and hovercraft.

State administrative rules prohibit thrillcraft operations, whether for recreational or commercial purposes, in the waters around Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe. The restrictions are part of the Hawaii Administrative Rules for Ocean Recreation Management Areas, Section 13-256, which establishes restrictions on where thrillcraft can be operated around the other major islands.

“In recent months, we have received complaints from island residents about noise and disturbance to reef animals from an increase in illegal Jet Ski riding in nearshore waters of Molokai,” Thielen said in an announcement.

“After our enforcement division officers followed up on these reported cases, we saw a decrease in Jet Ski use.”

Any change in the administrative rules would require a public review and comment process, including a public hearing on any proposed revisions and approval by the land board and the governor. The Small Business Regulatory Review Board and Department of Attorney General would also review any proposed rules amendments.

Molokai and Lanai residents may submit comments in writing to the boating division at 333 Queen St., Suite 300; Honolulu 96813; fax (80 587-1977.