Air your concerns at HOST meeting

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (8/04/01)
By Ray Pendleton

Years ago, when I was in the military, I first heard of the Seven Ps: proper prior planning prevents ____-poor performance.

And although the missing "P" word isn't appropriate for a family newspaper, I think the meaning remains clear. Early efforts to resolve problems before they come up will increase the success of any endeavor.

In Hawai`i, there is a rather unique maritime organization that has been making an ongoing effort to follow that planning precept for our island state's ocean users.

The Hawaii Ocean Safety Team (HOST) vision statement is "to promote and enhance the safe and pollution-free use of Hawaii's waters through proactive prevention.

And, with its advisors from the U.S. Coast Guard, HOST's avowed mission is to provide an open forum for government and industry to identify problems and to propose solutions for all maritime users.

To that end, it has created an advisory board composed of representatives from domestic and foreign shipping concerns, tugboat operators, harbor pilots, recreational boaters, commercial and recreational fishermen, shore facilities operators, labor organizations and the general public.

From the government side, the state is represented by three of its directly related agencies: the Department of Transportation, the Department of Harbors and the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Each month, the Coast Guard hosts the HOST meeting at its Club 14 at CG Base Sand Island.

At those meetings every effort is made to focus on the human elements and root causes of existing or potential maritime problems and then to create mutually agreed upon solutions. These solutions are then drafted as standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Once an SOP has been agreed upon, HOST disseminates the information by the most appropriate means, including posting it on its Web site

Over the past few years, HOST has addressed a wide range of maritime issues, from cruise ship and dive-boat operations, to the safety concerns involved with recreational boat use during on-shore fireworks displays.

The latest issue to be examined - the apparent rising potential for collisions between vessels and whales - will be be addressed at the next HOST meeting at 2 p.m. on August 9.

With an ever-expanding number of Pacific humpback whales visiting Hawaii's waters each winter, coupled with an increasing number of commercial and recreational vessels using the same waters, the perception of danger is clear.

This is particularly true when planning is underway for implementing a new, high speed, inter-island ferry service, but the issue should be of interest to every ocean user.

A HOST meeting notice points out, "There are many questions relating to this issue and an increasing need for good data to help identify the concerns and potential solutions."

To facilitate discussion of the subject, HOST will invite expert panelists to present information and answer questions from the floor.

If you have something you would like to contribute to such a discussion, I hope I'll see you there.

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