Coast Guard seeks input on whether lava safety zone should be pe - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Coast Guard seeks input on whether lava safety zone should be permanent

(Image: National Park Service) (Image: National Park Service)

Should the safety zone around Kamokuna, where lava on the Big Island is pouring into the ocean, be made permanent?

That’s what the U.S. Coast Guard wants to know.

On March 28, boaters were ordered to stay away -- at least 300 meters or about three football fields -- from the lava entry flow into the ocean.

The Coast Guard said it’s needed to protect people from the dangers associated with the lava, but lava tour operators said it's affecting business, even though restrictions were eased for four companies.

"After the safety zone went up we kind of lost a lot of our clients and guest, but we just started to pick up again," said Ikaika Marzo of Kalapana Cultural Tours.

The temporary ban lasts until the end of September, but the Coast Guard is considering keeping the 300 meter rule in place, modifying it or removing the safe zone altogether.

Shane Turpin of Lava Ocean Tours said the regulation is unjust and sees no reason for the safe zone.

Marzo agrees, but still wants to keep visitors safe.

"There are regulations going on all over the ocean entry," Marzo said. "On land and in the air. Soon enough we knew there were going to be regulations in the water. I'm down for modifying the safety zone and requesting to enter and get our guests closer."

Those who cannot attend are encouraged so submit comments online.

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