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DLNR NEWS RELEASE: No-alcohol ban in effect this Memorial Day Weekend at Ahu O Laka

Posted on May 26, 2016 in Latest Department News

July 4 and Labor Day holiday weekends also under same rule

HONOLULU — With the goal to ensure a peaceful and safe family atmosphere this Memorial Day weekend at Ahu O Laka, the Kaneohe sandbar, the Department of Land and Natural Resources is reminding everyone of the no-alcohol rule that will be in place on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

The law prohibits possession, use or consumption of alcohol within the Ahu O Laka (Kaneohe Sandbar) safety zone. The rule also prohibits anyone person under the influence of alcohol, narcotics or drugs from remaining in, or entering the safety zone, and prohibits disorderly behavior while in the safety zone.

Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers will be present at Heeia-Kea small boat harbor and at the sandbar to ensure compliance. They will also do outreach, including checks of operator permits, vessel registration and safety gear carriage requirements.

“Since implementation of the Ahu O Laka safety zone rule, accompanied by on-scene enforcement presence, holiday weekend conditions have been more peaceful and calm and families have said they felt safer to bring their children,” said Guy Chang, DOCARE Oahu Branch Chief.

“However, on other weekends, DOCARE has actively responded to complaints of large gatherings/parties with alcohol consumption and party atmosphere at Ahu O Laka. DOCARE officers have issued citations for unsafe boating violations, use of jet skis and a jetpack at the sandbar. Whenever there are large numbers of people, water and alcohol, and other motorized vehicles involved in a limited space, public safety is a matter of high concern,” Chang said.

In 2016, the safety rule will apply on the Saturday through Monday weekends of Memorial Day – May 28, 29 and 30; Independence Day – July 2, 3 and 4; and Labor Day – September 3, 4 and 5.

Background:  Currently the law applies only to three-day holiday weekends that include Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day* each year. A boating administrative rule amendment to make permanent the ban on alcohol and drug use, and disorderly behavior, at the Kaneohe Sandbar, also known as Ahu O Laka was approved a year ago by the Board of Land and Natural Resources, signed into law by Governor David Ige and took effect in July 2015.

The original three-year rule establishing a safety zone at the sandbar was in place from Labor Day weekend in 2012 until the Labor Day weekend in 2015. The rule was made permanent in May 2015.

For more information, map and text of the rule please visit:
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Video of the 2014 Memorial Day patrol at Ahu O Laka can be found on Vimeo at

Media Contact:
Deborah Ward
DLNR Communications Specialist
Phone: (808) 587-0320