State replaces Ala Moana Beach Park buoys

Paddle boards

In May, 2010 a series of seven “spar buoys” were installed between the shoreline and the interior of the reef. In recent years, some of the buoys became saturated with water and failed. Beginning on July 10, 2014, the Department of Land and Natural Resources will be replacing the buoys in the lagoon of Ala Moana Beach Park.

The calm waters of the lagoon at Ala Moana Beach Park offer ideal conditions for novice paddlers. However, a rapid proliferation of paddleboarding in these waters in 2009 prompted DLNR to seek a way to mitigate the hazards of overcrowding and a mix of uses, most notably, paddling and swimming.

DLNR’S Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) formulated a proposed solution to the issue and presented the plan at a public meeting in May 2009 that received wide approval. Installation of the new buoys will begin and should be completed on Wednesday, July 11. The pervious buoys were held in place with concrete anchors weighing approximately 600 pounds nested on sandy areas of the sea floor approximately 80-feet shoreward of the reef in varying depths of water. Between the spar buoys and the buoy weights, tethers constructed of 3/4-inch chain and shackles were installed. DLNR will make use of the existing anchors, chain and shackles to hold round, blue and white buoys in place.

“The department would like to remind the public that use of this corridor is not set in rule,” said William Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. “It was decided early in the development process that establishing rules for this waterway to separate users would somehow limit public access to a very valuable recreational resource.”

Comments have been monitored about the use of the corridor when the spar buoys were first installed and because altercations between swimmers and paddlers dropped sharply, the SUP corridor was deemed a success.

“A set of guidelines was introduced when we first installed the buoy system and we appreciate the willingness of the public to adhere to those general guidelines for safety reasons. We also appreciate the willingness of regular users of the lagoon to gently instruct new users in the use of the SUP Ocean users asked to cooperate, stay clear of installation crew
corridor,” said Aila.

The new buoys will be far more resistant to water infiltration that has caused the original spar buoys to sink lower and lower into the water. Replacement of the buoys demarking the SUP corridor will be a two-day process.

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