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Kauai North Shore Ocean Recreation Management Information

Ocean Recreation Management Area (ORMA) State Rules

  • No motorboat 300 ft of diver flag or designated swim areas (fishing vessel < 30 ft is exempt).

  • No anchoring or mooring except designated mooring area.

  • No fishing vessel > 30ft may fish except pole and line in Hanalei bay ocean waters. 

  • No commercial vessel load or unload passengers w/out DOBOR permit and approval of county (authorized vessels use ingress/egress zone).

  • Five (5) commercial use permits for self-propelled vessels to load and unload passengers at bay permits limited to passenger vessels certified by coast guard to carry 25 or fewer passengers and each permit shall authorize carrying of no more than 30 passengers daily. 

  • Two (2) commercial use permits for Hanalei launch ramp for kayak tours. Maximum number of kayaks per trip per permits shall not exceed 8, and no more than 30 passengers shall be allowed per day, 1 kayak guide required for each group of 8. 

  • No commercial water sports or tours may be conducted w/out DOBOR permit and approval by county. DOBOR may issue a total of 8 permits for commercial water sports instruction. Each permit authorizes 1 instructor per day to conduct instruction, and no more than 4 students at any given time. DOBOR may designate site of instruction and hours of operation and may change site whenever such changes are found to be necessary. Commercial water sports instruction includes commercial kayak tours, canoe rides, diving, snorkeling, parasailing, surfing, sup, sailboarding and other water-related recreational activities.

State Rules - Slow-No-Wake Zone

  • Slow-No-Wake within 500 ft of shoreline, ingress/egress zone, designated mooring area or on Hanalei river. 

State Rules - Swim Zones

  • Designated for bathing and swimming - no person shall operate or moor a vessel, sailboard, or any other recreation device within swim zones. 

  • This restriction shall not apply to vessels engaged in small-scale surround net fishing w/out the use of motors or fishing and crabbing from shore or Hawaiian design outrigger canoes.

State Rules- Mooring Zone

  • The designated mooring area for the mooring or anchoring of vessels, rafts, barges, platforms and other watercraft is the area encompassed by the boundaries.

  • All vessels, rafts, barges, platforms, and other watercraft within Hanalei bay ocean waters shall be moored or anchored solely within designated area. 

  • No person shall anchor, moor or stay aboard a vessel except those equipped with an approved marine sanitation device in good working condition. 

  • No permanent mooring shall be installed within the designated mooring area except by permit issued by DOBOR. 

State Rules – Ingress/Egress Zones ​

  • Vessels shall access the beach and shall be accessed from the beach solely through the following ingress/egress zones. 

  • Zone 1 begins at the south end of Hanalei Pavilions Park and extends southwest along shoreline a distance of 300 ft, and seaward to designated mooring area.

  • Zone 2 begins at the north bank of Hanalei river and extends southward across the Hanalei river mouth to the northern boundary of Black Pot Park, and seaward to designated mooring area.

Who's in Charge

A list of governmental offices and organizations that manage, monitor and enforce federal, state and county rules and regulations.

DOBOR is responsible for the management and administration of statewide ocean recreation and coastal areas programs pertaining to the ocean waters and navigable streams of the State. DOBOR enforces state legislation and administrative rules regulating boating facilities and recreational use of state waters. DOBOR is also responsible for ensuring equal public access to beach and ocean resources through the management of small boat harbors, wharves, and all associated harbor infrastructure, as well as the services and equipment for maintaining waste management at public beaches.

  • Hanalei Bay waters & rivers: DOBOR 808-245-8028

  • The river waters and beaches: DOBOR and Kauai County Special Management Area, 808-241-6677


DOCARE effectively upholds the laws that serve to protect, conserve and manage Hawai‘i’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust for current and future generations of visitors and the people of Hawai’i nei. DOCARE provides community education and promotes awareness through programs including training for resource officers and the Makai Watch program to promote user compliance for marine resource management.

  • The Beach, high water to vegetation line: Land Division, 808-274-3491; DOCARE enforcement, 808-643-DLNR or 808-634-3567

Other concerns: 

  • Obstructions or navigation issues: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 808-438-1069

  • Water quantity issues: Commission on Water Resources, 808-587-0214

  • Water quality: Dept. of Health, 241-3323; Hanalei Watershed Hui, 826-1985

  • Hanalei River in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge: 808-826-6641

  • County Parks Department - Waioli, Hanalei Pavilion and Blackpot: 808-241-4460

  • Signs and banners: County Building Division, 808-241-6655 

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