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State drops permit requirement for Waikīkī commercial surf instructors

Screenshot 2022-10-27 094437.jpg
Courtesy
/
DLNR
Commercial surf instructors in Waikīkī

Commercial surf instructors in Waikīkī will no longer need state certification permits to operate.

The Board of Land and Natural Resources voted this week to repeal the requirement for commercial instructors in Waikīkī to obtain blue cards.

Blue cards are certification permits issued by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Boating and Ocean Recreation Division.

They have long been required for surf and sailboard instructors, catamaran and canoe captains, and commercial motorboat operators located at Oʻahu’s famous beach.

The ruling will not repeal any existing commercial use permit rules and restrictions.

“Historically, we have been responsible for issuing Waikīkī Operator Permits, but we don’t have the expertise or resources to conduct testing and approval, effectively and timely.”
Ed Underwood, DLNR

In 2020, DOBOR brought a repeal proposal to the land board, which deferred a decision and directed the division to work with stakeholders to determine the best way to proceed.

Ed Underwood, the DOBOR administrator, told the board that repealing the requirements will allow commercial operators to set their own employee qualification standards.

It keeps the state out of the process, which does not have subject-matter expertise on surfing and canoe operations.

“Historically, we have been responsible for issuing Waikīkī Operator Permits, but we don’t have the expertise or resources to conduct testing and approval, effectively and timely,” Underwood said in a statement.

The state attorney general also expressed concerns that the state could be held liable if someone got hurt on a tour from a certified permit holder.

DOBOR has been and will continue working with Waikīkī commercial operators to develop conditions and regulations for various commercial ocean activities.

“DOBOR believes the blue card repeal is the best solution while we work collaboratively to develop replacement regulations to address all issues surrounding Waikīkī Operator Permits,” Underwood said in a statement.

Jason Ubay is the managing editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Send your story ideas to him at jubay@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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