Conservation officers beef up July 4 safety presence in Waikiki

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) beefed up presence in Waikiki Tuesday, during the annual Independence Day 'Floatilla' event.

Hundreds of people were out celebrating the national holiday on boats and inflatable floats.

DOCARE Chief Robert Farrell said boats, swimmers alcohol and sun is a recipe for disaster. It's a tough job policing such a large crowd of people in the ocean.

"Everyday is challenging working along Waikiki Beach when so many people try to do so many things, but these big holidays are even more challenging because alcohol comes out," Farrell said.

Hawaii law prohibits anyone from operating a vessel while intoxicated, but it is legal for those 21 and up to drink in the water, making 'Floatilla' a huge attraction.

"Unfortunately, some people like to drink too much and celebrate a little too hard," said Farrell.

14 conservation officers on seven jet skis and one vessel weaved through the water, monitoring underage drinkers and conducting safety checks.

Ocean safety lifeguards and U.S. Coast Guard boat patrols were there to assist.

Several skippers were ordered to raise their dive flags and display life vests.

As of Tuesday evening there were no reports of arrests or violations issued, but emergency services personnel said there were multiple rescues and medical emergencies.

About 25 volunteers with Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii were also out in the water making sure trash and debris don't end up at the bottom of the ocean.

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