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Posted on Jul 4, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

(He’eia Kea Small Boat Harbor, Windward O‘ahu) – White caps in Kāneʻohe Bay, strong winds, and cloudy skies are contributing to a quieter than normal holiday weekend at Ahu o Laka. For the past decade, alcohol has been prohibited at the popular sandbar for the three-day-weekends of Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day.


To help ensure boaters are following the no-alcohol rules, in addition to boating safety rules, the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) deploys officers each of the major summer holiday weekends at this small boat harbor and out at the sandbar.


Monday morning, the harbor parking lot was less than one quarter full. DOCARE Lt. Fagota ‘Junior’ Tataipu, captained a boat and led three officers on jet skis on patrols at Ahu o Laka. “It’s not the best weather for fun at the sandbar. The conditions in the bay are choppy and while we’re seeing a little sun, as the day proceeds, we don’t expect a whole lot of launches because of the weather,” he said. On Sunday, intermittent, heavy rain also kept activity at Ahu o Laka at a much lower level than is seen when the skies are clear, and the water is calm.


Saturday, an estimated 45 boats made it out to Ahu o Laka, yesterday the number dropped to 20, and today no more than 15 boats had made the short sail over by noontime.


DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla emphasized the constant presence of his officers on the restricted holiday weekends, explaining, “Since 2011, we have assigned officers to Ahu o Laka, each of the three-day weekends when alcohol is prohibited. This pro-active approach has resulted in every few citations over the past ten years, other than a few boat safety violations.”


Redulla also responded to recent claims that the State (DOCARE) is not doing enough to protect Ahu o Laka. “We could double or triple our work force and there will never be enough officers in the field to cover everywhere we need to be 24-7. This is why our best defense is a good community offense. We really rely on responsible citizens to report illegal activities or behaviors as soon as they spot them. This at least, depending on the availability of officers, gives us a chance to either respond in a timely fashion or to follow-up on complaints,” Redulla said.


DOCARE and other DLNR divisions are successfully using social media to shut down unlawful activities before they even start. Several weeks ago, officers learned, from online postings, of plans for a major illegal party at Ahu o Laka. DLNR announced the plans on social media and through the general news media and the party failed to materialize. There are countless examples of DLNR using social media and public attention as a counterattack on individuals and commercial operators who may be promoting unpermitted activities on the water or on land.


“The eyes and ears and reports of the many, exponentially helps to expand our coverage around the state, and gives citizens the opportunity to participate in good stewardship of Hawai‘i’s natural and cultural resources,” Redulla added. 


Report violations via the free DLNRTip app, or on the 24-hour DOCARE hotline, 643-DLNR (3-5-6-7).

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(All images/video courtesy: DLNR)

HD video – Kāneʻohe Bay DOCARE patrols (July 4, 2022):


Photographs: Kāneʻohe Bay DOCARE patrols (July 4, 2022):


Media Contact: 

Dan Dennison

Senior Communications Manager

Hawai’i Dept. of Land and Natural Resources

[email protected]