State deploys new vessels for ocean patrols

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources is getting some extra help when it comes to enforcing laws out on the water.

The state recently acquired two new 23-foot-long Sea Blade 23 law enforcement vessels.

The Malama Kai II was blessed Thursday during a ceremony at Keehi Small Boat Harbor. It will be based on Oahu and used by the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement’s Marine Enforcement Unit.

The boats are specifically designed to handle choppy waters and keep officers safe.

“When you’re doing enforcement work on the open ocean and the high seas, there are some dangerous conditions,” said DLNR chairwoman Suzanne Case. “You’re out there in the hot sun for long periods of time. You need stability. You need speed. You need to be able to turn well and you need protection from the sun. This boat has it all.”

A second Sea Blade 23 vessel has been in service in Kona for several months and will be blessed at a later date.

Officers are using it there to enforce rules associated with swimming with dolphins and other marine animals, as well as for general law enforcement purposes.

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