Coast Guard Steps Up Waikiki Patrols to Combat Drunken Spring Breakers

USCGC Kittiwake conducts man overboard training offshore of Honolulu Dec. 1, 2014. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Lauren Steenson)
USCGC Kittiwake conducts man overboard training offshore of Honolulu Dec. 1, 2014. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Lauren Steenson)

The U.S. Coast Guard plans to step up patrols off Waikiki this weekend as they and other state and federal agencies try to discourage large flotillas of partying college students on spring break.

"Each year the influx of college students and tourists arriving to Waikiki Bay during spring break generates numerous on-water safety concerns," Coast officials said in a news release. "In previous years, large flotillas have emerged encouraging the consumption of alcohol while on the water and pose a significant risk to public safety."

A July 4 flotilla of an estimated 10,000 young people in small boats and various flotation devices off Waikiki led to 10 people being hospitalized and hundreds of participants being assisted by law enforcement and emergency personnel.

Coast Guard officials said today that this weekend's stepped-up enforcement will include personnel from the cutter Kittiwake, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Honolulu Police Department.

"The goal for the Coast Guard and State's upcoming patrols is to ensure safety of life at sea by preventing search and rescue cases. However, enforcement actions that mitigate or deter illegal activities from escalating are also a top priority," officials said.

The Coast Guard reminded the public that state law prohibits anyone from boating while intoxicated and that the penalties for boating while intoxicated can include a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment for up to 30 days. 

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