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Monday, June 24, 2013

Los Angeles vs. New Hampshire And Hawaii

When the issue of employing 8 code enforcement officers by the County of Los Angeles came up (see here), we call to mind the numerous other creative solutions decided by other jurisdictions around America.

In New Hampshire due to the efforts of Greg Whitman and like-minded colleagues, both sides of the State House came together and passed state laws that give swimmers and kayakers the right of way in open bodies of water throughout the state of New Hampshire. The background of that legal separation is here.

In Hawaii, a proposal came up to limit open water swimming in the increasingly crowded Ala Moana Beach Park, located minutes away from the Waikiki Roughwater Swim course and within view of the famous Diamond Head volcano on Oahu. The 1 km straightaway course in Ala Moana's warm, calm waters always has swimmers going parallel to its tropical shoreline, from early morning to evening.

But there was a government proposal to limit use of Ala Moana by swimmers. The members of the Hawaii Swimming Club went into action and stopped the proposal by the State's Department of Land and Natural Resources and Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation. The proposed rules that severely limited accessibility for swimmers in Ala Moana were ultimately turned down after hearings on the island of Oahu and the outer islands.

The Hawaii Swimming Club's lobbying efforts, combined with the efforts of the local water safety people, saw the proposal as unenforceable and not leading to a safer environment for all to enjoy. Ultimately, the decision was fairly decided and the new regulations executed. "A full year has passed [since the test was first initiated] and the [separation] corridor seems to have served its purpose, separating stand-up paddlers from other ocean-users and greatly reducing the risk of injury due to overcrowding," said William Aila Jr., Department of Land and Natural Resources director. "We were getting complaints from paddlers about swimmers and from swimmers about paddlers, so we settled on a corridor to increase safety," said spokeswoman Deborah Ward.

Wise minds can come up with clever solutions fair to all.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

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