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Hanalei Water Activities Rules

Tow-in Surfing

Tow-in surfing in Hawaii may only be conducted during periods of high surf warning as declared by the National Weather Service.

State Rules:

  • Only thrill craft (jet ski) can be used;

  • All thrill craft must be recorded with DLNR using appropriate forms;

  • Tow-in surfing decals must be displayed on front half of vessel;

  • Thrill craft operators and tow-in-surfers must complete the thrill craft certification course; and are required to possess, and make available upon demand of enforcement personnel, a certificate of course completion.


When operating a thrill craft for tow-in surfing, all operators shall:

  • Carry on board a two-way communicating device;

  • Tow-in a maximum of one person at any one time;

  • Carry dive fins and a safety knife on their person; and

  • Yield right of way to all other boating or ocean recreation activities by leaving the same surfing break area and remaining a minimum of one thousand feet from the other activities. 


Thrill Craft / Jet Ski

Thrill craft may also be called jet skis or Personal Water Craft (PWC)

State Rules:

  • Must be 15 years old to operate;

  • No thrill craft within Marine Life Conservation Districts (MLCDs) or Natural Area Reserves (NARs);

  • Must take and pass the required thrill craft operator course and carry certificate;


Thrill craft may operate in designated zones w/in Ocean Recreation Management Areas; and beyond 500 feet from shore or outer edge of the fringing reef in a non-designated ORMA, out to a distance of 2 miles off of Kauai; Commercial thrill craft operations need a Commercial Operating Area Use permit.

See DOBOR website for additional information



State Rules:


  • a vessel, and should be registered;

  • not a thrill craft;

  • subject to carriage requirements for a class a vessel like a sup (away from a surf break);

  • required to comply with all rules and regulations that apply to vessels, including speed regulations, operation in proximity to marine animals, prohibited areas.


NOTE: No person shall operate a vessel at a speed in excess of "slow-no-wake" within 500 feet of the shoreline, an ingress/egress zone, designated mooring area, or on the Hanalei River and within 300 feet of a diver' s flag or a designated swimming area.



Snorkeling, Spearfishing, free diving, SCUBA diving

State Rules:

  • These activities require use of a dive flag.

  • Diver must mark position with a dive flag while diving and may not surface more than 100 ft from dive flag (except in emergency). Divers in water flag 12” x 12” Red and white.


Swimming & Swim Zones

Swimming Zones B-1 and B-2, Hanalei Bay ocean waters.

  • Swim zone areas confined by the boundaries shown in swim area map:

  • Zone B-1 swimming area extends three hundred feet seaward of the low water mark for a distance of three hundred feet on each side of Hanalei Pier.

  • Zone B-2 swimming area extends three hundred feet seaward of the low water mark between the extended boundary lines of the county park containing the beach pavilion.


Restriction. Zones B-1 and B-2 are designated for bathing and swimming. No person shall operate or moor a vessel, sailboard, or any other recreation device within Zones B-1 and B-2, provided that this restriction shall not apply to:

  • Vessels engaged in small-scale surround net fishing without the use of motors or fishing and crabbing from shore;

  • Hawaiian design outrigger canoes.


Wind & Kite Surfing

Certain areas are designated for windsurfing, see DOBOR website
State Rules:

  • Ingress/egress to the shoreline must be the most direct route;

  • Maneuvering must adhere to same ‘rules of the road’ as a sailing vessel;

  • Sailboard operators shall approach no closer than 200 feet to a dive flag.



State Rules: 

  • Commercial parasailing operators must have a Commercial Operating Area Use Permit;

  • Only one parasail may be in use at a time per vessel;

  • Parasailing vessels may not operate within 500 feet of the Hanalei shoreline;

  • Parasailing may be restricted in certain areas and/or at certain times such as humpback whale season; 

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