Keeping Kaneohe Bay safe this holiday

Clifford Inn
Clifford Inn
Meghan Statts
Meghan Statts
Lynn Ahlo
Lynn Ahlo

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

KANEOHE (KHNL) - Each year, hundreds of boaters are killed across the country, and thousands more injured. To keep from adding to these statistics, the State is stepping up enforcement on the water. Making sure all boats heading out this holiday weekend, meet safety requirements and boaters hit the water with safety in mind.

A holiday weekend always attracts a crowd to the Kaneohe sand bar.

"Its kind of a getaway, not your typical beach. You're in the middle of the ocean on a sand bar, its kind of different, fun," said Kaimuki resident, Lynn Ahlo.

Plenty of people pack into one small section of the bay, and that can lead to problems.

"One of the things were concerned about is overcrowding, there's a lot of traffic out there," said Clifford Inn, a Boating Safety Specialist with the State.

Many out in the water are focused on having fun, but the rules of the road for boaters, also means keeping an eye out for everyone around.

"We've had accidents when operators are not paying attention to the people in the water," said Meghan Statts, with the Department of Land and Natural Resources Boating Division.

Lynn Ahlo is just one of hundreds of boaters gearing up for a good time. But along with packing up food, drinks, and sunscreen, she knows to pack some common sense before she and her friends ship out.

"It gets really crowded, a lot of drunk people. So you have to be careful of the crowds and people driving drunk out there. Just be aware of your surroundings," added Ahlo.

Drinking goes hand in hand with boating for many spending the holiday here, but just like on land, drinking and driving don't mix.

"There is a BUI law, driving a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 and you could be cited or lose the use of your vessel," said Inn.

Enforcement officers will make sure that message is anchored in the minds of boaters, so people make it safely back to shore after a day on the water.

"Much like operating a vehicle when you've been drinking you judgement is impaired. When you get behind the wheel of a boat its much more dangerous," added Statts.