A boat operator, who advertised his “Epic Boat After Party,” on social media, was cited by the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) on Easter Sunday for conducting commercial activities without a permit.
Among the 15 passengers Adam Taylor carried on his boat to the Ahu o Laka sand bar in Kaneohe Bay, were undercover DOCARE officers who paid Taylor fees for a boat ride. All commercial activities conducted from State small boat harbors, facilities, and near shore waters require a permit from the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.
“We were alerted to this Easter afternoon party at Ahu o Laka by a social media posting,” said DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell. “When the possibility of unpermitted activities are blatantly advertised via social media or in blogs and we become aware of it, we will aggressively investigate and take appropriate actions against anyone caught breaking the law,” Farrell added.
Officers had prepared for a major “flotilla” at Ahu o Laka, but overcast skies and cool temperatures likely kept big crowds from developing. In past years and particularly on major holiday weekends like Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, enormous crowds have descended on the popular windward O‘ahu sandbar. This has resulted in a prohibition against open containers and alcohol consumption and possession at Ahu o Laka during the summer season holiday weekends. In addition, the state boating rule, first established in 2012, prohibits loud, abusive or disorderly conduct; and the presence of persons under the influence of alcohol, narcotics or non-prescription drugs in an area designated as the Ahu o Laka safety zone. The safety zone in the middle of Kane‘ohe Bay is just over a square mile in area and comprises the majority of the sandbar and is defined by six marker buoys.
A first offense for failing to have a commercial activities permit can carry a maximum fine of $5000.