Boaters, divers not happy about APEC security rule

Richie Stethen
Richie Stethen
Jamie Kopera
Jamie Kopera

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In a month leaders from around the world will be in Hawaii for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings.  The U.S. Coast Guard is getting closer to finalizing its security zones which will affect those who go out into the ocean.

While the state is getting ready for the APEC meetings, some boaters and waterman are preparing for what could be a big pain.

Having the President and other world leaders in town doesn't impress Richie Stethen mainly because it's putting him out of work during the conference.

"I guess they have to do what they have to do but it definitely affects me and I'm not too happy about it," said Richie Stethen, Commercial Diver.

Stethen dives to clean underneath boats but his clients have told him there's no work in early November during the APEC meetings.

"It affects me a lot actually because I have to pay my bills and pay my rent and everything so I don't know what I'm going to do during that time," said Stethen.

Others are in the same boat, as in without a paycheck.

"For sure. It's definitely an inconvenience," said Jamie Kopera, who works on the Red Dolphin, which takes visitors out for fun on the ocean.  "I know the Coast Guard has been keeping a close eye on all the commercial vessels out in Waikiki so it is a good thing that they're looking out after all of our boats but for some of us it means we're out of work."

"I think you just have to be flexible because obviously they're going to do what they want to do so we have to flow with the punches," said Mike DeRego, Maggie Jo's Sport Fishing.

The Coast Guard has four proposed APEC security zones.  One is offshore near Ko'olina.  The other three zones are near the Sheraton and Outrigger Hotels, the Hilton Hawaiian Village and the Ala Wai Canal and Harbor.

"For the past month the Coast Guard has been going out to local industries and businesses to minimize impact to businesses," said Lt. Gene Maestas, U.S. Coast Guard Spokesman.  "We've also been going door to door or boat to boat in the Ala Wai Harbor and communicating the proposed security zones to the boat owners because we also want to minimize any disruptions to their daily activities and lives as we can."

People have until October 17 to contact the coast guard with any complaints or concerns because there is still time to adjust the security settings.  It's unknown yet if surfers and paddlers will have to stay out of the zones.  If so it would bum out Stethen even more because if he can't work he planned to catch some waves.

To read more about the Coast Guard's temporary security zone rule and to submit a comment click here.

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