Maritime Industry Day Was Worth Attending

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (03/13/99)
By Ray Pendleton

Why weren't you there?

Maybe you just didn't hear about it. Or maybe you didn't think there would be anything of interest for you there.

What ever the case, if you are a recreational boater, you really missed out by not attending the Coast Guard's Hawaiian Maritime Industry Day last week at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Oh, I know, the name sounds like it was a conference just for commercial ocean users, but like the event's co-host, Hawaii Ocean Industry and Shipping News, the name can fool you. As does the magazine, it featured several topics most rec-boaters would find interesting.

The day started off with five breakout sessions and two of them immediately caught my eye.

One was a report on the status of the Hawaii Maritime Authority which is currently taking shape through the efforts of an ad hoc commission lead by Sea-Land's Clint Taylor. If the authority becomes a reality, it will eventually have control of all commercial and recreational harbors in the state.

The other session was a presentation by Steve Thompson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources on proposed changes in the rules regulating the operation of "thrill craft," or what are usually referred to as personal water craft or jet skis. These changes will effect operator safety and training, operating areas, and tow-in surfing.

A bit later in the morning, Bill Nickson of Transmarine Navigation provided an update on HOST, the newest maritime organization in Hawai`i. HOST stands for Hawaii Operational Safety Team, and as its name implies, it was created to find solutions for any marine safety problems it may identify.

HOST is comprised of volunteers from virtually every facet of maritime interest, from the military, local government and emergency responders, to shippers, tour boat operators and recreational boaters.

Nickson stressed that the heart of HOST is its subcommittees which make recommendations to the general meetings, where a consensus is then reached, rather like a hospital review board.

Of HOST's 16 subcommittees, several are bound to have a direct impact on recreational boating in Hawai`i.

Consider the Mamala Bay Operating Subcommittee, which addresses the parameters of ocean activities within Mamala Bay. Or, the Ocean Racing and Recreation Subcommittee, which addresses the safety factors in ocean racing in Hawaii's waters.

A final breakout session was directed exclusively at recreational boating issues. Presented by Kent Richards, Coast Guard Private Vessel Safety Coordinator, it touched on some very important topics: Coast Guard boardings of recreational boats, the need for boating safety education, and the upcoming Safe Boating Week, May 22, through the 28.

Along with all of the educational presentations at the C.G. Maritime Industry Day, there were also representatives from numerous marine-oriented companies providing product and service information.

But, perhaps the best part of the day's activities came when all of the nearly 300 attendees found time for some old fashioned networking. Meeting people face to face always seems to improve communications.

If you agree that you may have missed out on something by not attending, keep an eye on this column next year for an advanced notice.

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