Bill Mustard a Legislative Watchdog for Boaters

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (11/21/98)
By Ray Pendleton

"With so few boaters in Hawai`i, how can we get government to respond to our needs?"

That was a question I was asked via e-mail by a boat owner who had read my last two Water Ways columns.

The first column had been a plea to Governor Cayetano to keep his campaign promise to create a "world-class" boating program here, and the second column suggested the state could use some help from the private sector in accomplishing such a creation.

In response to the reader's question, it occurs to me that perhaps now is a good time for all of the recreational boaters in the state to get together and form some sort of coalition. After all, a single voice representing some 14,000 voters would surely get someone's attention.

With that in mind, and not wanting to recreate the wheel, I called someone who has been attempting to unite boaters within his organization for the past two or three years. His name is Bill Mustard and his organization is called BOATS / HAWAII, a non-profit group "devoted to protecting the interests of maritime-related activities in the state."

Mustard himself is a life-long boater, turned political activist, who decided to put heart and soul into standing up for Hawaii's maritime community. At the state level, that means spending every day during each legislative session in the state capitol building monitoring, testifying to, or even getting amendments to the dozens of marine-related bills that are brought forth each year by our lawmakers.

In a nutshell, Mustard is a legislative lobbyist and the members of BOATS / HAWAII provide him with their opinions, direction and support - both financial and vocal.

In return, BOATS / HAWAII provides its members with a common voice to the legislators and provides an analysis of those legislators' actions so they may form educated opinions about their desirability for eventual reelection.

A recent report from BOATS / HAWAII gave grades A through F - from a boater's perspective - to all of the state's legislators, including our U.S. senators and representatives, and the governor.

As a legislative watchdog, BOATS / HAWAII was evaluating and presenting its members views on eight House Bills, three Senate Bills, and one House Concurrent Resolution being heard in committee in just one week during the last legislative session.

The subject matter of these pieces of legislation ranged from establishing a community-based management system for the small boat harbors, and converting one small boat harbor into a privately managed marina, to the creation of a Hawaii Maritime Authority, and allowing the Department of Land and Natural Resources to lease submerged lands.

Needless to say, none of those bills should have been passed without input from the recreational boaters in the state. And, perhaps, the only way those same boaters can reasonably make their opinions known and keep abreast of their legislators activities, is to have the sort of representation BOATS / HAWAII provides.

If you think BOATS / HAWAII can help you, or you can help BOATS / HAWAII, check out its web site at and then call Bill Mustard at 808-531-0582. or email at

Last week's Column -|- More Water Ways

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