Hawaii Dive Flags
Rules for HI divers and boaters
Coming soon. If you have any Hawaii scuba diving links or text to recommend, let me know.
For Divers in Hawaii
Tom Holtey of Top Kayaker brought Hawaii's amendments §13-245-9: Diver's flag to our attention. According to Hawaii law:
(a) A "diver's flag" as defined by rule and measuring not less than twelve inches by twelve inches shall be required to be displayed on the surface of the water by any person or group of persons engaged in free diving or SCUBA diving.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), a diver's flag measuring not less than twelve inches by twelve inches, shall be displayed on the highest point of the main structure of a non-motorized vessel that is sixteen feet or less in length overall in order to provide unobstructed view of the diver's flag from all directions when diving from the vessel.
(c) Notwithstanding subsection (a), in addition to the "Alpha flag" required by the United States Coast Guard, i.e., a blue flag with a white horizontal strip running from the upper left side to the lower left side, a diver's flag measuring not less than twenty inches by twenty-four inches, shall be displayed on the highest point of the main structure of any motorized or non-motorized vessel that is greater than sixteen feet in length overall in order to provide unobstructed view of the diver's flag from all directions when diving from the vessel.
(d) No person shall engage in free diving or SCUBA diving, or display a diver's flag, in a manner that shall unreasonably or unnecessarily interfere with vessels or with free and proper navigation of the waterways of the State.
(e) Except in cases of emergencies, free diving, swimming, or SCUBA diving within navigation channels shall be prohibited.
(h) The diver's flag shall be displayed only when free diving or SCUBA diving is in progress, and its display in a water area when no diving is in progress in that area shall constitute a violation of these rules.
(i) There shall be no subsurface distance restrictions from a dive flag, however, except in cases of emergencies, free divers or SCUBA divers shall be prohibited from surfacing more than one hundred feet away from the diver's flag in the ocean waters of the State and fifty feet in navigable streams.
(j) Authorized representatives of the department and life saving personnel are exempt from the distance restrictions of subsection (f) when performing functions related to their duties.
(k) Anyone violating any provision of this section shall be subject to fines and penalties as provided in sections 200-14, 200-14.5, and 200-25, HRS. [Eff 2/24/94 am July 5, 2003] (Auth: HRS §§200-2, 200-3, 200-4, 200-10, 200-14, 200-14.5, 200-24, 200-25) (Imp: HRS §§200-2, 200-3, 200-4, 200-10, 200-14, 200-14.5, 200-24, 200-25)
For Boaters in Hawaii
From the Hawaii amendments quoted above:
(f) All vessels shall be prohibited from approaching within one hundred feet of a displayed diver's flag or within fifty feet of a displayed diver's flag on navigable streams, except within marked navigation channels. Vessels approaching a displayed diver's flag to conduct SCUBA, snorkeling, or free diving activities within the one hundred foot or fifty foot restricted area shall be allowed to do so provided that the vessel approaches at a speed of slow-no-wake.
(g) Vessels navigating through marked navigation channels are exempt from the distance restriction described in subsection (f) but shall proceed at a speed of slow-no-wake through the navigation channel when a diver's flag is displayed adjacent to the navigation channel.
chris-(@)-interesting.com (remove the hyphens and parentheses)
P.S. This information was as complete and up-to-date as I could reasonably make it. This material is not a complete analysis of the topic and should not be construed as providing legal advice. Readers should conduct their own appropriate legal research or contact an attorney in their own state.