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Jet Ski Island battered, but OK

Updated: 
October 24, 2017 - 12:05am

KAILUA VILLAGE — U.S. Coast Guard crews are monitoring a local company’s floating island that appeared to be listing Tuesday in Kailua Bay following foul weather that lashed the Big Island.

U.S. Coast Guard District 14 External Affairs Lt. Cmdr. Warren Wright said there is no concern of pollution from the vessel, also referred to as “Jet Ski Island” located offshore of Waterfront Row, or of it becoming unmoored and running aground. It serves as the private island for Big Island Watersports’ recreational activities.

But, Wright said, there is an existing and open Captain of the Port order on the vessel, a pontoon-like uninspected watercraft moored in the bay.

A Captain of the Port order is given in the event there is some safety deficiency or other hazard and provides the vessel owner a list of what the Captain of the Port would like to see to bring it up to standards. Wright said they are relatively common.

“It’s a way for the Sector Command to allow industry to do what they do to make money, especially in this industry, maritime recreation activities is kind of the lifeline of that area. You don’t want to shut them down but you want them to come up to some sort of safe standard,” said Wright.

The Coast Guardsman said he was unsure of when the order was issued for the Big Island Watersports vessel in Kailua Bay, but noted it was definitely prior to foul weather that impacted the island Monday and Tuesday.

“Today, maybe because of some of the weather seen recently there was a safety concern brought to this attention,” he said, “and the lieutenant came out there to take a look if this was part of the existing or new damage.”

Results from that assessment were not immediately available.

However, the floating island could be seen listing in the water while still moored. Tuesday afternoon, a Big Island Watersports boat and crew were at the site and appeared to be taking in jet skis.

Hawaii Fire Department Battalion Chief Ian Smith told West Hawaii Today earlier Tuesday that the approximately 30-foot vessel appeared to be “coming apart” when crews were notified in the morning hours. Fire rescue personnel went out to check the vessel and determined there was no one on board and there was no danger to life or safety. The Coast Guard was subsequently notified.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources was also notified of the situation, according to spokeswoman Deborah Ward.

She said the department’s divisions Boating and Ocean Recreation and Conservation and Resource Enforcement reported that some of the vessel’s pontoons may have filled with water and the island was floating a little lower than normal.

“The owner is handling this situation and has someone to maintain it. They were on site and removing things from the platform and jet skis tied up to it. They dove and checked the mooring and it’s pretty sound,” she said via email.

Attempts to reach Big Island Watersports for comment were not successful Tuesday.

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