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Friday, January 23, 2015
DLNR Imposes 3% Gross Receipts Fee on Ocean Recreation Vendors
By News Release @ 6:53 PM :: 5486 Views :: Small Business, Tourism


Overcrowding of near shore ocean resources prompted rules

News Release from DLNR, January 23, 2015

HONOLULU – New fees and permit requirements are now in effect for commercial recreational operations in state small boat harbors, facilities, and near shore waters.  Any company or individual conducting commercial activity is now required to contact the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) for a permit.

DOBOR Administrator Ed Underwood explains, “This includes surf and stand-up paddle boarding schools, kayaking companies, snorkeling and scuba diving tours and any type of commercial recreational activity happening in state waters.”  Prior to the implementation of this new set of administrative rules commercial permits were only issued for use of state harbors. There were no permit requirements for commercial operators conducting business from private marina’s or from shore,” Underwood said, “There has been such a demand on near shore water resources that they are becoming overcrowded.  We are pushing out local families, who for instance, can’t get into popular surf breaks because there are so many commercial surf schools using these breaks.  This gives the state the mechanism for regulating these types of activities and any new activities that may be on the horizon.”

Permits are available at DOBOR offices around the state.  Operators seeking a permit will have to fill out a questionnaire which contains the information they need to be in compliance with the rules.  Permit fees are $200 per month or 3% of gross receipts; whichever is greater.  Ocean recreation businesses that are operating out of a private or county facility will only pay the minimum requirement of $200 each month. Commercial operators who already pay 3% of gross receipts under a harbor commercial use permit will not be required to pay an additional fee for issuance of the new commercial permit for use of state ocean waters.

The rules are the result of statewide public meetings held over the past two years.  The final set of rules were adopted by the Board of Land and Natural Resources in April 2014 and signed into law by then-Governor Neil Abercrombie in September 2014.

Companies operating without a permit could be cited, fined and potentially have their equipment confiscated.  Currently DLNR/DOBOR wants to educate people about the new rules.  Permit information will help inform management decisions about activities happening in state waters now and in the future.  For more information:


High Definition Video of Commercial Manta Ray Diving (Hawaii) and Snorkel Boat Tours (Molokini):

Learn more about the rules in this “Video Conversation with Ed Underwood”


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