by David Corrigan
KEALAKEKUA BAY, Hawaii – Permits are now available for recreational vessels at Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park – with specific conditions.
After imposing a moratorium that began January 2, 2013 on all vessels entering the bay and all landing at Ka‘awaloa, the Department of Land and Natural Resources took a phased approach to the bay…
Swimming and snorkeling have continuously been allowed in the bay without permits, and in January, after management jurisdiction of the bay was transferred from the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation to the Division of State Parks, permits were issued to commercial and non-commercial vessels to merely transit the bay entering from an outside location (landing of passengers was not allowed – only swimming in the water). Next, in April and May, the division authorized the three previously permitted commercial kayak guided tour companies to resume operations with strict permit conditions. That included Iwa Kalua and Aloha Kayaks in Hanalo, who we spoke to just before they were allowed back.
That left the non-commercial recreational use of crafts without recourse… for several months, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and one-person canoes could not be used at Kealakekua, until now.
DLNR will be issuing special use permits – with specific use conditions – for the recreational crafts. There is no cost for these permits. DLNR says many of these users have been contacting the department for months to ask when they could resume their personal recreational hobby to paddle in the bay.
The eight conditions for the special permits:
- No launching or landing of vessels from the wharf at Napo‘opo‘o landing.
- No landing or transporting of people to land or to traverse any of the land at Ka‘awaloa Flats.
- No launching or deployment of any auxiliary vessels from the permitted vessel. Swimmers are allowed in the water but not to access Ka‘awaloa Flats.
- Motorized vessels are to operate at a “no wake” speed.
- There shall be no damage to any live coral, or tampering or interfering with other marine life and mammals. All legal distances are to be maintained from marine mammals.
- If an emergency landing is required on land within Kealakekua Bay, the DLNR Hawai‘i State Park Office must be notified within 24 hours of the landing and report the nature of the emergency and the need to land.
- These conditions may be subject to change due to resource management decisions.
- Violation of any of these permit conditions may cause the revocation of the permit
DLNR says special use permit request forms may be obtained by e-mailing DSP Permit Staff at Jacqueline.M.Velasco@hawaii.gov