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10,000 Attend Waikiki 4th of July Floatilla – Rep. Ing Response

The Coast Guard and local authorities wrapped up a busy Fourth of July holiday handling multiple incidents off Waikiki, Tuesday.

Coast Guard crews partnering with Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services and the Honolulu Police Department, rescued more than 30 persons in the water.

The Coast Guard and local authorities wrapped up a busy Fourth of July holiday handling multiple incidents off Waikiki, July 4, 2017. Coast Guard crews partnering with Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services and the Honolulu Police Department, rescued more than 30 persons in the water. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Keith Ito/Released)

“Our overall objective yesterday was to ensure everyone was safe on the water and to deter possible violations of federal, state and local law,” said Lt. j.g. Brian Waters, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Enforcement. “Our crews worked closely with HPD, DLNR and Ocean Safety to assist in the rescue of over 30 persons in the water, which included multiple intoxicated and underage youths.”

It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state. Penalties for violating BUI/BWI laws can include large fines, suspension or revocation of boat operator privileges and jail terms.

An estimated 10,000 people were in attendance for the floatilla celebration, which included numerous personnel in various types of watercraft from motorized boats, kayaks, canoes, dinghies to inflatable floats.

Coast Guard crews also recovered over 100 inflatable floats to prevent future unnecessary search and rescue cases.

Sector Honolulu crews dispatched a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew from Station Honolulu and four 25-foot Response Boat-Small boatcrews from Maritime Safety and Security Team Honolulu (91107) to conduct safety and security patrols throughout the day.

“We want to thank our state partners for their close coordination and assistance with the floatilla,” said Waters. “The joint effort highlights the importance of our partnership for these large holiday events.”

Representative Kaniela Ing, Chair of the House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs, responds to the July 4 Floatilla event:

Rep. Kaniela Ing

“Reports of yesterday’s ‘Floatilla’ event are alarming. I know that the Department of Land and Natural Resources and city officials have attempted to address this issue in the past, but it has taken a turn for the worse,” said Rep. Kaniela Ing (D-11, Kihei, Wailea, Makena). “Organizers have had numerous chances to clean it up and keep attendees safe, but nothing has changed for the better. We are talking about public underage drinking, trash on our beaches and in our waters, 10 young people being rushed to the hospital, one 19-year-old woman in critical condition, and lifeguards having to rescue over 100 event goers, all during one party. Look, I’m young, and am all for having fun responsibly, but this has crossed way over the line.”

Ing believes that certain legal loopholes might make enforcement by city officials or DLNR impossible, and it is up to the legislature to amend the law. He plans to explore the issue by introducing and hearing a bill led by the committee he leads.

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