Most sailors are sensitive about coral areas and do the right thing, but with so much effort going into saving our coral reefs world-wide, authorities are also stepping up to the mark to curb those sailors who anchor in coral. The latest is the owner of a 47-foot boat anchored in Kailua Bay in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, who was cited this week for causing coral reef damage due to the boat’s anchor chain.
Coral damage was caught on camera by nearby swimmer
Under Hawaii's newly amended coral rules, which took effect on May 1, each damaged coral head or colony less than one square meter in surface area is a separate specimen. For colonies greater than that, each square meter and any remaining fraction thereof constitutes a separate specimen.
In addition to penalties, administrative fines of up to $1,000 per specimen may apply.
The violation is a petty misdemeanor offense, subject to a criminal fine of a minimum $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense, and $1,000 for a third or subsequent offense.
It was reported that approximately 80 feet of chain was in the water, with about 30 to 40 feet of it in the coral.
The citation was given out by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE).
It was thanks to a swimmer who photographed and reported the damage to a Kailua pier security officer with the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation. The officer then contacted DOCARE, who investigated and cited the boat owner.