Water safety advocates seek exception to commercial ban on North Shore

Water safety advocates ask for exception on North Shore ban of commercial business
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 6:41 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A restriction on commercial activities on certain Hawaii beaches is having a negative impact on businesses that teach water survival skills on the North Shore.

“I always had the permits to operate on those particular locations, Waimea Bay, Shark’s Cove, Three Tables, Sunset Beach area, but recently they passed this bill and now we’re not allowed to teach our courses anymore,” said Ricardo Taveira of Hawaii Eco Divers.

He said he received a citation from DLNR earlier this year. During his hearing last week, the judge dismissed the case.

Members of the community wrote dozens of letters of support, including one from lifeguard Kainoa McGee who wrote: “I agree with the general merits of the bill. But I also strongly believe that there should be very minimal exceptions to the rule as a North Shore City and County of Honolulu lifeguard. These classes are essential and absolutely necessary exceptions should be made.”

“Recently I taught a kid and after the course he got caught by three waves in the Pipeline. He got stuck in the rocks, he was able to free himself and his father called me personally thanking the course because he did save his life,” Taveira said.

Taveira said he’s not opposed to the law and understands the frustration of the community.

“All the tour buses with Shark’s Cove, and I feel privileged to live in such a great community that wants to protect the area, but at the same time banning this course from teaching it to to the local community is actually causing harm to the community. So we’re just asking for some type of exceptions,” he explained.

Taveira says he’s working with lawmakers to resolve the issue.

“All we want is to be heard as a community because we feel like this is protecting the community. Our work is not bringing massive amount of tourists to those locations. Our job is to actually promote ocean safety, water safety to our community,” Taveira said.