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State looking to regulate use of jetpacksUPDATED 7:05 PM HST Jul 18, 2013Video Transcript
Jetpacks and motorized gizmos are getting a lot of buzz among thrill seekers always looking to try something new on the water. Now the state's interested too... but for a completely different reason. KITV4's Andrew Pereira has more on the brewing controversy... all new at 6. It's a chance for every day Jane or Joe to experience their James Bond moment. Water-propelled Jet packs have been flying at Maunalua Bay for the past two years, but the technology is on the rise. ED UNDERWOOD: "WE HAVE ONE OPERATOR ON OAHU AND ONE OPERATOR ON THE BIG ISLAND, AND A PENDING APPLICATION FOR MAUI." But some Hawaii residents and conservation officers have sounded the alarm. DLNR held a briefing Thursday to gather information. RANDY AWO: "THESE BOY TOYS, WE ARE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT IT COULD BECOME IF WE DON'T BEGIN TO MANAGE WHAT IS HERE, AND WHAT IS ABOUT TO ARRIVE ON OUR SHORES." The next leap in hydro-levitation has already touched down in Hawaiian waters. Known as flyboards, this promotional video played at the briefing was shot in Haleiwa and Kahana Bay. Critics say it's dangerous, but supporters say otherwise. KEVIN DELANEY: "A NORMAL JET SKI GOES 70 MILES AN HOUR. THESE THINGS ARE BARELY CLUGGING ALONG AT NOT EVEN FIVE 1:20:34 AND THEY CAN ONLY OPERATE IN A 60-FOOT CIRCLE." With water penetrating as much as two feet below the surface, some are worried these high-flying craft may hurt fish and coral that spawn in near-shore waters. DR. BOB RICHMOND: "SO, THE QUESTION IS HOW MANY FISH LARVAE AND CORAL LARVAE ARE BEING PULLED THROUGH THESE MACHINES AND BEING PUMPED THROUGH, AND I CAN'T IMAGINE A LARVA SURVIVING." JEFFREY KRANTZ: "IF WE HAVE SOME SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE, THINGS LIKE THAT, WE'D LIKE TO WORK WITH THE DEPARTMENT, AND WE'VE MADE THAT VERY CLEAR WITH I THINK MOST PEOPLE." ANDREW PEREIRA: "HOWEVER, WATER- PROPELLED JETPACKS AND FLY BOARDS ALREADY ARE BEING REGULATED BY THE STATE, SINCE DLNR HAS NOW DEFINED THEM AS THRILL CRAFT. THAT MEANS THEY MUST FOLLOW ALL THE RULES IN OCEAN RECREATION MANAGEMENT AREAS, LIKE HERE AT MAUNALUA BAY." WILLIAM AILA: "ANY OPERATING OUTSIDE OF THE THRILL CRAFT AREA, THE DESIGNATED ORMA AREA, WILL BE BE DEALT WITH. THAT'S WHAT WE DO IN THE SHORT TERM." In the longterm, the state will examine the impact of jetpacks and flyboards, as well as jet skis, which have been operating at Maunalua Bay since 1992. ED UNDERWOOD: "THE NEXT STEP IS, ARE THE EXISTING THRILL CRAFT RULES SUFFICIENT TO COVER THIS TYPE OF ACTIVITY?" JEFFREY KRANTZ: "WE JUST WANT TO MAKE IT WORK, AND THERE IS A WORKABLE SOLUTION FOR ALL OF US." Andrew Pereira, KITV4 News. Opinions at the hearing ranged from banning ALL water craft in near shore waters, to allowing only commercial operators to use the technology. If DLNR decides new administrative rules are needed, the process usually takes nine to 18 months.