The Ocean Safety Schools Association was formed primarily to promote Ocean Safety,
and to create Ocean Awareness through Education and other related activities.

ABOUT THE OSSA: The membership includes water sports schools, instructors, and trainers. Our association's supporters include industry members, ocean enthusiasts, students, their families and supporters of OSSA.

Windsurfing Simmulator land instruction.Certified Kitesurfing instructor teaches safety techniques.Ocean Kayak InstructionScuba safety training (buddy breathing).
Maui Chapter:  Surfing,   Windsurfing,   Kiteboarding,   Kayaking,   Snorkeling,  and  Scuba Diving 

Who we are:
The Ocean Safety School Association provides information about current issues regarding Commercial Ocean Recreation Activities (CORA) on the island of Maui, as well as information about the benefits they bring to Maui. The OSSA is an association made up of watersports school providers, instructors, industry supporters, members of our community and visitors.  Our main goal is to work with the county government and community to establish fair and effective regulations for CORA operators on the island of Maui.
What is CORA?
The CORA situation Explained. (MC 10-102), 2/27/2008 Maui February 2008:  Water sport school’s and instructors are facing a crisis. New rules are coming that will force many to close and many instructors will lose their jobs. These rules are extremely Restrictive and Punitive. These rules affect Surfing, Windsurf, Kitesurfing, Scuba, Kayak, and Snorkel Schools, instructors and guides. Here is some information to help you better understand the situation.

What is CORA?   Water sports schools on Maui need a permit to operate on County beaches. Windsurf and kitesurfing, surf schools (& scuba, kayak, snorkel) are called “CORA”, Commercial Ocean Recreation Activity.

What is an ORAP? The Orap (Ocean Recreation Activity Permit) system ensures that each CORA has got insurance and operates responsibly. This system has functioned adequately since its inception 16 years ago. (please note that some SCUBA operators have been teaching on Maui for 32+ years, and some Windsurf Schools have been teaching for 23+ years, well before this system was introduced.)

Ocean Safety Schools provide a valuable community service:
atersports instruction creates a safe environment for new ocean users to learn various sports. They teach safety, ocean awareness, and respect for the ocean. Every student they teach will have instilled in them fundamental skills for ocean survival. This will enhance the ocean awareness of the population as a whole. Commercial operators have a duty of care to inform and protect their students.
atersports instructors provide a service as quasi-lifeguards. Their experienced eyes are constantly scanning the ocean for trouble. They identify and diffuse potentially dangerous situations in their environment. They provide information to the public on ocean conditions, whether it is safe to enter at a particular location or time. They advise the public of the more suitable locations for people of varying skill levels, direct people to swim at patrolled beaches. They warn fellow ocean users of dangerous ocean conditions such a rip tides, shallow reefs, snags, submerged hazards, local rules, regulations, and ocean etiquette.
hey often directly intervene in emergencies where lifeguards are not present. Water sports instructors save lives, perform rescues, provide resuscitation, CPR, and first aid to victims in offshore emergencies. For example: scuba instructors have provided life support and oxygen to heart attack victims on un-patrolled beaches; Windsurfing instructors perform offshore rescues after the lifeguards go off duty at 3pm; Surf instructors, both on and off duty perform rescues of struggling swimmers or recover drowning victims with their surfboards.


You can become a supporter of the OSSA by submitting written testimony or giving oral testimony at Public meetings & Hearings. Support is very important to us, and your letters of testimony become an important tool in showing our support base. There are many examples of written testimony and emails sent to the County and other officials. See the Testimony section below, and follow the links to see more examples. most people will send a quick email to the parks Department and Mayor. If you have a little more time, a "snail mail" letter is even more effective. You can also help by becoming a member and getting actively involved in the OSSA. Membership requires financial support.

Maui Kiteboarding Association Maui Kitesurfing Community Maui Boardsailing Association MAUI WAVE RIDERS Action Sports Maui Activity Owners Association
Ivey, Fosbinder, Fosbinder. BIG KAHUNA ADVENTURES

Maui Windsurfing Association

Surf Club Maui Maui Sun Divers Maui Sports Unlimited

Maui County Tourism Strategic Plan 2006-2015

Maui County Defines its Strategic Plan, See Sustainability page 53.


Definition of Sustainable Tourism

It strives for quality, not quantity.

Communities measure tourism success not by sheer numbers of visitors, but by length of stay, money spent, and quality of experience.

It means great trips.

Satisfied, excited visitors bring new knowledge home and send friends off to experience the same thing, which provides continuing business

for the destination."


Please help Support Surfing Schools in Kihei, Maui, Hawaii.
July 2013:   Surfing schools in Kihei provide water safety instruction and supervision for participants in water sports. At Kalama Park in Kihei there are no lifeguards. Visitors and locals should have access to safe instruction to make their ocean experience safe and enjoyable. Reducing the hours of instructional operation would push the majority of beginner students into windier and less safe conditions. Surfing activities favor the early mornings, because of light winds. Most often Kihei experiences strong trade winds at about 10:30 each day, Especially during summer. Please sign this petition in support of Surf schools to continue teaching surfing at 7am.


Please support our Surfing Schools

Surfing Schools in Kihei are important:

Surf Schools help people enjoy the ocean safely. Surf instruction shows people how to responsibly enjoy the ocean and how to respect the environment. Many locals and visitors want to enjoy the ocean and need guidance and supervision. At Kalama park there are no lifeguards but instead there are Surf instructors watching over people. All Surfing Instructors on Maui are required to be trained in CPR and First Aid, as well as "Ocean protection and Cultural awareness (OPACA)". And these surfing instructors are experienced in the local conditions and have extensive Surfing knowledge and know about the Ocean conditions.

Supervision and Safety:

Surf instructors act as guides, and "on-call lifeguards" and they provide a better level of safety for all ocean users in their location. Surfing schools are also an important link between the local surf industry and the local beaches. Many surf shops rent and sell surfing equipment (so does Costco, Kmart, Walmart etc.), and currently customers buying surf equipment can then have access to professional surfing instruction to show them how to use it responsibly. But what if there was no instruction available? Without access to proper instruction many people would buy equipment and use it at the local beaches without any instruction at all. This potentially creates a hazard to the unsupervised users and to the other beach users as well. This is already happening at an increasing rate and this problem will continue to grow. Access to proper Surfing instruction is one solution to this growing problem.

Teaching responsibility:

Surfing Instruction shows people how be safe, how to protect themselves, and how to handle their equipment responsibly, so that it does not become a hazard to other beach users as well. Surfing Instruction helps to protect the environment by showing people where to surf and how to surf and how to appreciate the ocean resources. Surfing instructors on Maui are trained in Ocean Protection and Cultural Awareness (OPACA).

Surfing instruction has become a vital link that holds the local surf industry together.

The recreational industry too also relies on surf school to provide responsible instruction  for people wanting to enjoy surfing sports. Surfing is a healthy lifestyle that can be enjoyed by local children, families and visitors alike. Surfing does not pollute and it is environmentally friendly, sustainable, and renewable.

Surf schools also support the local industry and economy:

Surfing schools provide jobs and help the local economy. Surfing instructors and all of the ancillary staff, as well as the vendors and suppliers, all benefit from their economic contribution. Surfing schools also provide many off site facilities such as: showers, change rooms, customer parking,  and storage outside of the public areas.

Surfing is a Hawaiian Sport, and is a great fit for the location, with a very minimal negative impact.

History of Surfing Instruction:

Surfing Instruction has a long history in Hawaii, notably including "Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku" himself as one of the most iconic and legendary surfing instructors of all time.

Please Support Surfing Instruction:

Please support Surfing Schools in Kihei, and allow them to continue to provide Surfing Instruction at Kalama Beach Park in the mornings.



Ocean Safety Alliance


RE: EAR-20, Maui Watersports Schools need your Support.

This week Thursday Sept 3, 2009 the Parks Committee is voting on a bill that will cause county permits to expire, if the business is transferred.

This means that business owners or their families will have no possibility to sell their businesses in the event of hardship, disability or death.

This means that the business cannot use their own business as collateral for a business loan, and those years of hard work, investment, and effort, may be lost the moment the owner cannot run the business any longer. There will be no possibility for retirement, and no future security. The Parks department has recently signed off on the most restrictive rules ever produced for the water sports schools of Maui. And they are now following up with this severe additional restriction, that will wipeout the future security for these family owned businesses.

Who knows why the county has taken such an aggressive stance against tourism and ocean recreation community? This proposed bill will almost certainly pave the way for total State control of these activities. The county and State may be positioning themselves for a total take over of this industry from private individuals within the community to become a State controlled and run industry.

Please support these small family owned water sports businesses, and ask the Maui council members to kill this ill-advised proposal.

Please write testimony (preferably in your own words) or come to the meeting at the council chambers to show support, this Thursday at 1:30pm.


Please address your comments to all 5 of the voting members of the Maui Parks committee:


Example Email:









RE: EAR-20 COMMERCIAL OCEAN RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY - defining non-transferability of permits

Dear Councilmembers,

I oppose EAR-20 on the grounds that non-transferability of permits,

*creates hardship for ocean recreation business owners and dependants;

*discourages long term investment in ocean recreation;

*undermines responsible school operators;

*discourages respectful consideration of other beach goers;

*compromises attention to safety;

*discourages investment in quality equipment;

*invites part-time, short-term employment;

*degrades the ocean recreation experience of locals and visitors.

Please vote "NO" on this ill advised proposal.

Thank you for your careful consideration.

Signed ....

Testimony of Toni Marie Davis
Executive Director Activities & Attractions Association of Hawaii

Before the County of Maui Economic Development, Agriculture, and Recreation Committee
Thursday, September 3, 2009 1:30 pm

Strongly Opposed Bill

Aloha Chairperson Johnson and Members of the Committee;
Mahalo for this opportunity to testify, my name is Toni Marie Davis. For the last 12 years it has been my honor to serve the activity & attraction industry of Hawaii through my position as the Executive Director of the Activities & Attractions Association of Hawaii. The membership consists of all the fun “things to do”. They are part of the Tourism industry, according to a special report published by economist Leroy O. Laney, (attached) in the spring of this year, “Tourism represents 80% of our jobs and approximate 40% of our taxes. Tourism is a great business to have as a pillar of economic support. In fact, it would be hard to design a better one. Yet these businesses are repeatedly under appreciated.”

This Proposed Bill requests two things:

1) To delete the definition “Ocean Recreational Activity”. I believe this is based on proposed DORBOR rules 13-251-31. Part of the DLNRs Recreational Renaissance. This proposed rule change replaces references to ORMA locations [Waikiki and Kaanapali] waters with State Ocean Waters. Making these CORA operators required to obtain two permits and follow two sets of Admin Rules. I confirmed this with DOBOR Administrator Ed Underwood. I strongly urge you to keep this language “as is” this will allow for those only using parks as a means to merely access the state waters subject to only one set of rules, the States. These CORA rules would not apply to them. Double jurisdiction would be overly burdensome for these small businesses. This is why the language is there in the first place.

2) 13.04.20 Nontransferability. This is a house keeping measure to ensure politically correctness including the entity, “reciprocal beneficiaries”. I see this as an opportunity to right a wrong. This section should NOT change and be consistent with the State’s small boat harbor policy regarding transfer of commercial operation use permits. In the public hearing 06/26/09, 92% were opposed to the rules as stated and expressed a need to keep the ability to transfer permits with the sale of a corporation.

I humbly propose the following language (HRS 200-0010 with slight variations) be used in its place:

13.04.20 Transfer of Permits: For the purposes of this section, "person" means any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, trust, association, joint venture, organization, institution, or any other legal entity. An owner who is issued a CORA permit to operate from Maui’s State Parks shall notify the department in writing of a transfer of interest or possession in the corporation within seven days of transfer.
Any person owning an interest in a corporation or other business entity possessing a valid commercial permit issued by the department, in accordance with rules adopted by the chairperson pursuant to chapter 91, may transfer any or all stock or other interest to another person without terminating the right of the corporation or business entity to retain or renew its commercial permit or any other permit issued to it by the department; provided that:
(1) deleted
(2) The seller shall pay the department a business transfer fee based on the passenger-carrying capacity of the permit owned or operated by the corporation or business entity as provided by rules adopted by the chairperson pursuant to chapter 91.
Any person possessing a commercial permit shall be required to meet minimum revenue standards, as a condition of retaining or renewing the commercial permit.
(e) All revenues from the foregoing operations shall be deposited in the parks special fund, specifically for improvements in the County Parks utilized.

The transfer of commercial use permits was discussed at great length and analyzed at the state level many years ago by the State Government and Commercial boat tour companies. The idea that commercial use of a public facility is a privilege not a right is very clear; this is why permits are revocable and renewed each year, why the director has sole discretion to revoke a permit. To maximize consistency, safety and quality which play directly into the preservation of the resource, transferring of corporation permits is allowed. Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR) 13-231-62 and 13-256-6 allows for Corporations to transfer permits along with a transfer fee established in Hawaii Revised Statue section 200-010.

The reasoning was as follows:

Which is better?

A. To encourage permitted businesses which run on single digit profits, unable to acquire financing and unmotivated to invest in their business due to their not having assurances of longevity. The business model you promote is to live in the “NOW” make as much as you can without spending definitely not investing. It’s filled with contract labor, run down equipment and a high turnover with the motto, “Sell as much as you can as cheap as possible!” “Mindset of a renter”


B. To have permitted businesses that invest, with the ability to acquire a loan for quality equipment, employee residents with a dedication to build a good reputation knowing they have a reasonable expectation to be in business for years to come. There is an initiative to build a good name, brand and improve their product quality over quantity. “Mindset of an owner”

Thank you for this opportunity to testify.

Toni Marie Davis
Toni Marie Davis /Executive Director

Activities & Attractions Association of Hawaii(A3H)
A Marketing & Lobbying Cooperative
PO Box 598, Makawao, Hawaii 96768

Copy of Email to Council

To: jo_anne.johnson@mauicounty.us


dateSun, Aug 30, 2009 at 1:03 PM

subject: EAR-20 CORA - defining non-transferability of permits. Doing the right thing

Aloha County council committee members,
First, I'm a single man who's been teaching diving since 1978. I took years to build a small, quality operation. Most of my business is return business The excuses being given to drive the CORA operators out of business are not valid and will end up costing Maui county perhaps a thousand more local jobs leaving an already divided and embittered population more so. The money we earned will no long be dissolved back into the community. Unlike the hotels, our earnings do not instantly grow electronic feet and fly off island, they stay right here on Maui! Getting rid of us this way is like shooting yourself in the foot. You will be held directly responsible for this travesty. If you drive us out of business with these punitive and over regulatory, poorly politically motivated rules and not allow us to all freely transfer our permits, you force us to go to court. Nobody wins, and again you shoot yourself in the foot. We can't afford it, you shouldn't waste the money our tax money on it.
We are already the real stewards of the reefs. Not a dive goes by that we do not pick up fishing hooks, line, lead, plastic, clothes, panty liners, plastic everything, cigarette butts, beer and plastic bottles, cans, plastic bags, mattresses, beach recliners and every other form of trash. We the divers are all trained in first aid, life saving and CPR. I carry Oxygen, and a large first aid kid in my SUV. I've been teaching scuba diving off of Maui's beaches since 1978, keep my groups to 4 people or less and try and leave the parks early. I get there, unload, talk to my people, disappear, reappear 45 minutes to an hour later and leave. I've taken close to 30 thousand people diving over the years WITHOUT A SINGLE ACCIDENT. I'm taking the grandchildren of people I taught in the 70's and they make me feel like a part of their families. It wasn't about the money when I taught Bully how to dive. I've kept all of my divers names and addresses and will be in touch with them as to my new location and operation should Maui government no longer want us here. I love what I do and will then do my best to bring all of them and any other Maui county ruined companies w/ their databases w/me. I've pulled at least a dozen drowning people, residents as well as tourists, out of the water in the last 10 years and saved their lives. We all have! We are NOT damaging the reefs, we care for them! Our very presence in the park deters druggies, dealers and rip offs!
Second, who’s really responsible for overcrowding our beaches? A little common sense here…

1. The county of Maui issued the permits that tripled our population w/out adding a single new beach park since the 1970s.
2. Most of our best beaches, instead of leaving room w/ ample parking for residents, have almost all grown hotels planned and built w/ almost no parking for residents. This was deliberate. The plans to block off our beaches were approved by our locally elected gov.
3. The commercial beach operators have been forced into fewer, smaller parks and then blamed for overcrowding. Think of it like prisoners forced into a concentration camp, being blamed for overcrowding in the camp and then eliminated to prevent overcrowding.
4. I can think of only a few of the many CORA operators who are taking home real money. None of them own palaces on the beach and they broke their own backs to do it, not your back.
5. Where do elected official’s kids go to school? Private schools of course! Anyone on Maui who loves their kids works hard to do that as our public schools suck! The money to do that? Hard. Most of CORA folks are smaller operators who can barely make ends meet and do their jobs to pay bills and out of love for the ocean.
6. The new developments zoned and permitted by this administration (fast-zoned now but built after recovery), will bring in thousands of people who will all go to the beach.
We clean up the ocean and make the beaches safer every time were there. I truly believe that respect is not a matter of position, it needs to be earned. We've earned it. Please help us and your actions will earn our respect. Let us be free to include our permits w/ the sale of our businesses! Let us spread back out to create less congestion on our beaches. again, we need and deserve your respect and support, not your condemnation. We've earned it!

Aloha & Thanxs!
Bobby Baker

Maui News

Everything changed with parks department boss

POSTED: August 14, 2008


I had been the supervisor of the then new Park Ranger program since the approval of two positions in the county Department of Parks and Recreation in the 2006 budget. I retired in January. No, I was not ready to retire. For more than two years, we handled the commercial ocean recreation permitted parks on a daily basis.

The Parks Department was mandated by County Council to establish administrative rules for the commercial operators. For two years, I and and two other people worked diligently to create rules acceptable to all concerned. During the period from 2005 through December 2006 we met with county staff and earned the trust of ocean activity operators.

Enter the newly appointed director of Parks and Recreation in January 2007. The new director iced out the three key people and created a whole new set of rules. She also brought in the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. This was county stuff, not state.

Fast forward to the Makena Landing issue in July. I met with the Makena Homeowners Association in 2006 and they were OK with the arrangements being made for Makena Landing. Maui Prince, before Dowling, was very agreeable to the whole issue of commercial use.

Makena Landing was not a problem. Why did it become one? The kayaks are off in the water. The scuba guys you don't see. It's really sad to add these businesses and the workers to the list of the unemployed due to some selfish, uncaring rich guy from Boston.

Bob Straub


To:, Stan Zitnick, Mayor’s Office CC. Mayor Charmaine Tavares

 Re: CORA request a meeting with the Mayor.

 Hi Stan, We urgently need a meeting with the Mayor. These proposed rules (MC10-102) have a serious potential to harm the CORA industry. We now need clarification on certain questions directly from the Mayor herself. We request an emergency meeting with the Mayor and all of the CORA group representatives. Please schedule a meeting as soon as possible in the Mayor’s lounge for our group.

 CORA representative for Surfing, Windsurfing, and Kitesurfing.

Dear Tamara Horcajo:

I am writing in support of water sports schools and instructors on Maui.  With all of the visitors that come to play in our water, there is a need for access to water sports instruction.  Visitors need lessons to learn about the wind, waves and changing ocean conditions here on Maui.  Students need to learn their limits and how to be safe in the ocean.  Lessons show participants important skills and respect for other water users. We need to support the schools and instructors that provide these services to visitors and locals.  They make the ocean & beaches a safer place. 
Brian Ward
2811 Liholani St


Parks director bypasses regulatory review board. Thursday, March 27, 2008
More bad news for water sports instructors on Maui

Parks Director Tamara Horcajo has decided to bypass the recommendations of the Small Business Regulatory Review Board (SBRRB). Mrs Horcajo said she will rewrite the Park’s Departments Administrative CORA Rules without further discussions with the CORA operators, and she also threatens to take them directly to a Public Hearing, without first taking them to the Review board for approval.
This goes directly against the recommendations made by the SBRRB review board on Oahu last week. The Small Business Regulatory Board is appointed by the Governor to be the watchdog of government overregulation of Small Businesses.
This cavalier attitude and disregard for the Board’s directives demonstrates Mrs Horcajo’s unwillingness to work with the schools to create fair and workable rules.
The CORA schools have requested an emergency meeting with the Mayor to get clarification on important issues.

County makes it cost prohibitive to provide safe alternatives: Maui County has dealt another blow to small business, in the form of a crippling fee hike for beach permits, for CORA instructors. In the 2009 budget, the county has announced a huge increase for CORA permit fees. Some ocean recreation businesses (CORAs) will have a 1000% increase in permit fees, in just one year. Average permit fees have jumped from $600 to a dizzying $6000.  The fee structure now penalizes instructors for having alternate beach sites on their permits. Due to changing weather conditions ocean sports will want to relocate to alternate locations. This is why CORA operators will list all of the possible locations on their permits. Now with the new per-park fee structure, the County has created a financial disincentive to offer alternate locations. The fees force operators to weigh financial concerns with safety concerns.

SEE MORE News on our new NEWS PAGE. Click here


Instructor Training Courses Available on Maui

IKO Kiteboarding instructor Course

Windsurfing Instructor Course

Surfing instructor Training

Lifeguard Training

Medic firstAid/CPR Courses.

RedCross FirstAid CPR.Certified Kitesurfing instructor teaches safety techniques.

Scuba Divemaster Training

Scuba instructor Training

Scuba rescue Diver training

Kayak Guide training

Coast Guard Boat handling Course.


Maui Ocean Safety Education

Surfing Lessons:
BigKahuna, MauiWaveRiders, MauiSportsUnlimited, ActionSportsMaui.

Windsurfing Lessons:
MauiSportsUnlimited, ActionSportsMaui.

Kitesurfing Lessons:
MauiSportsUnlimited, ActionSportsMaui.

Kayaking Lessons:

Snorkeling Lessons:

Scuba Instruction Courses:

Windsurfing Kids Camps
Windsurfing Kids camps for 6-13 year olds run through the Summer months Providing activities over 3-day course, Kids learn safety skills, windsurf techniques from instructors, parents, and lifeguards. This program has run successfully for ten years, group sizes range from 15-25 kids. Students share equipment and take turns riding. They average four to a board. 

Instructor Training for Kitesurfing  Instructor training Courses are run 2-3 times per year on Maui. Certification is the worldwide recognized IKO International Kiteboarding Organization system. These intensive courses are run over a five–day period. (6 days including the Medic FirstAid-CPR Course Requirements). The certification courses are available to local instructors and off islanders too. During the course we train to the international safety standards. Candidates become proficient in safe teaching protocols, teaching rescue procedures and site management techniques. These courses are run at an 8:1 ratio (with 8 candidates and one trainer/examiner.)  (FYI, the course fees just cover costs).We also do practical skills cross-training with county lifeguards in kite recovery skills. Having properly trained and certified instructors teaching kiteboarding on Maui, is one of the reasons that Maui has a very good safety record for kiteboarding.


Minimizing our impact on the Resources.

We should do as much as we can to reduce our impact, and we should also do whatever we can to protect the resources.

 Self Regulation: means “lead by example”,

        Voluntarily keeping our groups small,

        Keep bootie buckets inside the vans.

        Keep your footprint smaller at the location,

        Keep a low visual impact.

        Voluntarily keep your signage within acceptable limits.

        Instruct every patron, “not to walk on the “Coral”.

        Teach from a Surfboard, instead of walking on the reef.

        Do not hang the rash-guards all over the outside of the vehicles. Hawaiian Monk Seal

        Do not drag the Surfboards across the grass or dunes.

        Do not leave your gear strewn around or laying on bushes.

        Do not damage bushes or plants at the beach.

        Teach etiquette, respect and sharing.

        Keep the county park rules posted in your vans.

Don’t just say it, Do it! Please implement these measures immediately, we are being watched very closely. And keep reminding your instructors to maintain your standards.

Aloha,  David Dorn

 Have a look at what Nancy Emerson surf school does: http://www.mauisurfclinics.com/maui-environment.html


- A Mission Statement for Living -

A Master in the Art of Living draws no distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion.  He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing.
To himself, he is always doing both.
... James Michener


Ocean Safety Schools AssociationMaui Chapter:

Current challenges are the proposed county rules MC10-102, which stands to destroy many water sports schools on Maui. We are seeking your support, written testimony, and financial support is both welcome.

Please visit our Donation Page to make a contribution to our defense fund.


About our attorney:

James H. Fosbinder obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1984.  He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Fine Art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1979.  He was on the Board of Directors of the Maui County Bar Association from 2000-2003, and is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association.

Mr. Fosbinder is licensed in California, Hawaii and Wisconsin (inactive in Wisconsin), and is admitted to the Supreme Court of Hawaii, the Supreme Court of California, the federal United States District Courts in Hawaii and California, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, the federal Second Circuit Court of Appeal, the U.S. Tax Court, and the United States Supreme Court.  Mr. Fosbinder's litigation background can be reviewed at the website www.fosbinder.com.

Review Board Meeting   Yesterday on 3/18/09 representatives of the water sports schools CORA flew over to Oahu, to the SBRRB Small Business Regulatory Review Board hearing investigating the MC10-102 rules. The schools has requested the SBRRB to review these rules because of their harsh and unfair nature. After hearing all the testimony the Board agreed that these new rules had “a lot of loose ends” and needed to be reworked, and a new 3rd draft produced. The Review Board told Parks Director Tamara Horcajo to go back into meetings and get more input on these rules from the water sports schools, and make a 3rd draft of her rules. Then she must present the 3rd draft of the rules back to the review board at another hearing. This step she must complete before she may schedule the public hearing on Maui (which is the final step before they take effect.). This small victory is good news for CORA schools on Maui. This is not the end of our struggle but is a good step in the right direction.  Stay Posted and thanks again for all your support.

Parks director bypasses regulatory review board. Thursday, March 27, 2008
More bad news for water sports instructors on Maui
:   Parks Director Tamara Horcajo has decided to bypass the recommendations of the Small Business Regulatory Review Board (SBRRB). Mrs Horcajo said she will rewrite the Park’s Departments Administrative CORA Rules without further discussions with the CORA operators, and she also threatens to take them directly to a Public Hearing, without first taking them to the Review board for approval.
This goes directly against the recommendations made by the SBRRB review board on Oahu last week. The Small Business Regulatory Board is appointed by the Governor to be the watchdog of government overregulation of Small Businesses.
This cavalier attitude and disregard for the Board’s directives demonstrates Mrs Horcajo’s unwillingness to work with the schools to create fair and workable rules.  The CORA schools have requested an emergency meeting with the Mayor to get clarification on important issues.

Here is a link to the county website parks Page:

The Maui County website page that has the CORA Study info and draft rules.


They added a link to the PDF they produced. (please note that the file is named “final”).


To Maui County Parks dept.

 About the CORA study:

After reviewing the CORA Study, It was immediately apparent that there were certain conditions that have changed since the study, and that there were other inconsistencies and erroneous assumptions that need to be addressed.

About the Draft Rules:

When compared to the “Draft” CORA rules, in many cases there was little correlation between the new Draft rules and the recommendations of the CORA study. In some instances the rules seemed to contradict the findings of the study.

Many of the “Draft” rules appear to be overreaching, and arbitrary.

Before the study, we the CORA operators asked for more enforcement of existing rules, in order to police the illegal operators etc. The CORA group did not ask for more rules.

The mandate of the CORA study:

The mandate of the CORA study was to promulgate rules that were “fair and enforceable”. These Draft rules are neither fair nor enforceable in their current form.

 The sum total of these draft rules will in many cases will unfairly put responsible operators out of business. In many cases these CORA operators have been running their businesses responsibly and without complaint and in full compliance with County regulations for a decade or more.

Responsible operators will suffer:

These responsible operators are not failing the system, the system is failing the operators.

According to these new rules, if I continue to run my business that way I have for 10 years, I will become an outlaw. And if I try to comply with these new requirements I will be out of business. The county is attempting to micro manage my small business, and is unfairly interfering with the livelihoods of all my staff and my family.

 The areas of the draft rules that cause the greatest concern with the CORA groups are:

  1. Unjustifiably closing beach parks and activities.
  2. Harsh penalties for infractions.
  3. Reducing the allowable days of operation.
  4. Unfair restrictions on group sizes/ratios.
  5. County overburdening the operator with unnecessary reporting.
  6. Restricting, or even eliminating parking.
  7. Requiring patrons to be shuttled, and denying the patrons right to park independently.
  8. The omission of “Attrition” for permits or any grandfather clause, or renewal process.

  Official Request to County:

I respectfully ask that my suggestions and revisions of the rules be officially submitted and recorded to be included in the revisions of these draft rules. I also request that all CORA operators be given the opportunity to respond to the revisions of the draft rules before they go to public hearing.

 Parking on unused permits.

After reviewing the CORA Study it became apparent that some CORA persons are parking on permits that they do not use. There are some permits that have never been used. These permits have been created perhaps for their resale value. This situation is not fair when the number of permits is so limited and some operators are struggling to survive with the permits they have. All permits that have not been used should be withdrawn from the pool.

 Beaches Losing More Activities:

 One of the biggest problems with the new CORA draft rules is the extinction of locations and activities. The County Draft rules arbitrarily eliminate many activities from a number of beach parks. Some of these activities have been going on for years at these locations, just to be simply shut down.

 According to these Draft administration rules;

  1. County wants to shut down Surfing at Kanaha Beach
  2. County wants to shut down surfing at Waiehu Beach
  3. County wants to shut down surfing at Ohukai (memorial park)
  4. County wants to shut down surfing at Waipuilani park.
  5. County wants to shut down windsurfing at Waiehu.
  6. County wants to shut down kiteboarding at Waiehu.
  7. The County wants to take away Sundays.
  8. The County wants to take away County Holidays
  9. The County wants to take away State holidays.
  10. The County wants to take away half of Kite Beach (Kanaha).

 Eliminated Activities deprive the entire community:

These eliminated activities will not only affect the CORA operators and patrons but they deprive the entire community from access to instruction, and access to these areas with the assistance of instructon or guidance. They elimination of activities has a negative impact on the CORA, their patrons and the general public. These deletions are diminishing the Maui experience for all watersports groups and the community that use these areas.

 Previous County Park closures:

  1. County shut down Puamana Beach
  2. County shut down the entire sand beach at Cove Park
  3. County shut down the southern portion of Kalama park
  4. County shut down the Laniupoko Park
  5. County shut down Hookipa park
  6. County shut down Kamaole I, II, and III,
  7. All of La Perouse bay was shut down to Kayaks.

Reducing locations increases crowding:

Decreasing the number of available locations causes the remaining activities to bunch up and crown into certain activities, whereas before they would naturally spread out among the available locations. Limiting the access points to the ocean, will only intensify the traffic in the remaining locations. This is obvious. Reducing the permitable locations does not reduce the demand for these activities. Reducing the number of permits does not reduce the demand for these activities.

The county should find ways to provide more facilities for the population to access the parks and enjoy these activities. More parking areas are badly needed, more toilets, showers, and beach parks. The CORA study recommends the creation of more parking areas, better facilities and improved access to beach areas.

Reducing locations reduces Ocean Safety:

Many locations used by CORAs ocean experts have no County OSO (ocean Safety Officers). These beaches and locations have been attended by CORA operators who provide a level of safety to their patrons, and also to the public. Many ocean rescues are performed by CORA staff while on-duty and off-duty. Taking away the CORA from these isolated locations increases the risks to public safety. CORA have First Aid equipment and often perform rescues. They also share their advice and ocean knowledge to inexperienced beach users who may be attempting to enter a dangerous situation. CORA staff prevents many accidents at County beaches by advising the public and watching over the ocean. CORA operators are a contact for emergency services and will call for ambulance and police when needed. The public will still have access to these locations WITHOUT the benefit of access to Lessons, without the presence of a knowledgeable CORA instructor, and no County OSO.

Beach marshals, & Custodians of our natural resources.

If you have ever experienced, an ocean activity on Maui, under the guidance of a professional instructor. You will know that they are passionate about Maui’s natural resources, and love to share their appreciation of it with their guests.

All forms of Cora activity Snorkeling, Scuba diving, kayaking, Surf Wind and Kite, participate in and depend upon understanding the natural elements.

Snorkelers are instructed how to appreciate the underwater world without harming it, no standing on the Coral, the correct mask clearing techniques, not taking souvenirs from the sea. How to make a safe entry into the water, watch for other users, and maintain an awareness while in the ocean. This has got to be the most passive and low impact of natural ocean resources (other than photography). Even a swimmer hasn’t got the same ability to see and avoid what is under the water, as a snorkeller. 

Scuba Divers explore that underwater realm with respect and appreciation, they hover weightless with near neutral buoyancy and observe undersea life. Scuba divers log hundreds of hours below the surface and develop a deep connection to the ocean and its inhabitants, Scuba Instructors have an understanding of the behavior of sea creatures and an intimate knowledge of the moods of the ocean. Many professional scuba instructors will volunteer their time and resources to keep the ocean clear of debris and report on problems in the undersea world. Scuba instructors have accumulated a massive knowledge base of Maui’s underwater resources. So much so that they themselves become an important resource for Maui.

The Surf Zone is a unique arena where the power of distant storms systems expend their energy on our near shore reefs, in a turbulent and spectacular way. Hawaiian have always appreciated the power of the ocean, and respected the people who knew how to master the waves. Surfing is Man’s way to connect to the power of the Ocean. Surfing is not instinctively known. It is learned. Many local families have Ohana or an “uncle” who will guide then into the ocean and spend many hours, days and years watching over them. Surfing Schools are where everyone else can go to get the necessary guidance and instruction to make the surf environment safe. Surf instructors will help people to respect the power of the ocean, “never to turn their back”,  learn the movements of the water, rip currents, and the unfolding stages of a wave as it rises over the reef and breaks and spills its energy into the shallow water. Surf instructors are weather watchers and wave forecasters. They are tuned into ocean conditions, tides, WX advisories, and changing local conditions. The make informed judgments of where to surf and when to surf, and how to accommodate all the factors that make surfing enjoyable and safe for their students. Surf instructors are in the water next to their students for the entire lesson, they are directing traffic, and giving feedback to prevent many common mishaps. They are also watching over the entire break, and managing the area, to better anticipate any challenges. Instructors are in the water and instantly available to render assistance to a student or other member of the public who gets into trouble.  When there is no lifeguard patrolling the beach, the surf instructor is the next best thing. These instructions are that difference between enjoying a day at the beach, or a trip to the hospital. Surf lessons teach the students how to negotiate traffic in the water. How to wait their turn, respect other water users, and survive a large wave sweeping through, to keep their feet off the sea floor, and to enter and exit the water safely.

Surf students will learn to know their limits and act responsibly in the ocean. 

All these lessons will have to be learned the hard way, if there is no instruction available.

(Please note that there are no OSO lifeguards at any of the 3 remaining CORA Surf locations).

Windsurfing on Maui is enjoyed by local families and visitors alike. Maui is blessed with steady tradewinds and warm water. On Maui there are only a few beaches where windsurfing is regularly practiced. Each beach has a unique set of conditions that lend themselves to different levels of expertise. Each location that is currently utilized on Maui for windsurfing is important in its own way. There are even less beaches where windsurfing is suitable for beginners. Who prefer the calmer water close to shore and the lighter winds in the mornings. Windsurfers have long appreciated the attributes of the different beaches, and know which wind and wave conditions will favor one location over another.  Windsurfers too are meteorologists, and know changing weather forecasts, marine warnings, and swell predictions. They use this knowledge to better attune themselves to the wind and waves. Windsurfing instructors teach their students the basics, of determining the wind direction and strength, how to select a safe entry point, watching out for divers and other ocean users.  They are instructed on suitable protocol, self rescue, and to identify hazards. Students will learn about any specific hazards at particular beaches as instructors share their local knowledge of the areas.

Windsurfing instructors act as beach marshals and give advice to non-student windsurfers. While a lesson is in progress, the instructor watches the area to create a safe environment for the student. This often leads to the instructors giving valuable advice for free to other users, like a technical point or pointing out a local water condition that may have escaped their attention. In this way instructors help many more people than just their own students. Windsurfing instructors are often involved in beach clean ups, and other community based projects that help protect the beach environment. Windsurfing instructors, maintain the Swim Zone buoys at Kanaha, they perform countless rescues, inform the public about the beach rules, and have a strong association that has successfully managed their sport for over 16years. Windsurfing Instructors are ocean experts who scan the ocean constantly looking for any trouble. They are often the first to notice a person in distress, and are able to inform the lifeguards or activate emergency services when needed. Windsurfing instructors also keep an eye on crime at the beach parks. They are an integral link in the watersports community. And their contributions should be appreciated as such.

Kitesurfing instructors have the same responsibilities as windsurfing instructors however they use different locations, different time zones, and slightly different wind ranges. There are even less locations on Maui suitable for beginner kitesurfing. Kitesurfers have successfully self regulated their activity for over ten years, to minimize any impact with other water users. The suitable kitesurfing areas are limited, and therefore important as ocean access points. Kitesurfers actively manage their areas, to assist each other, and to minimize their presence. Kitesurfing lessons offer the best environment for newcomers to the sport. Students learn about the kitesurfing zones, local rules, and ocean conditions. They learn to respect other ocean users, and how to manage themselves to stay within their limits. Maui has unique conditions that differ from many other locations. Instructors help students to develop an understanding of these unique micro climates, wind effects, and ocean conditions. This type of knowledge is crucial to the success of the students, and other participants. Students are shown correct launching, techniques, safety procedures, how to practice safely after the lesson.  This knowledge is passed on amongst all the beachgoers and a higher level of understanding results.

At the locations, instructors act as beach marshals, halting activity when non-participants are present, offering technical assistance, preventing problems before they occur. Offering assistance and advice to non-students. Performing recoveries and rescues to other water users.  Instructors are responsible beach users that are respectful of other user groups, and pass along the local rules and etiquette to all kitesurfers, students and non-students alike. Kitesurf instructors are active volunteers in beach cleanups and ocean trash pickups, and beach restoration projects. The Kitesurf instructors are an important part of the water sports community, and are crucial for the maintenance of a safe water sports experience for kitesurfers and non-kitesurfers alike. They are an asset to the park and to the community.

Watersports instructors are responsible citizens, and are members of our community. In addition to their duties as water sports instructors, many participate in the other sports as well, they are members of the wider water sports community, some are lifeguards, fishermen, canoe paddlers, sailors, family members. They are contributors to the economy and the community. Every water sports instructor I have met, or hired or trained, has the utmost respect for the beaches and the natural resources that they call home.  Water sports instructors and their accumulated knowledge should be highly valued and considered as another important resources that should be protected for the benefit of the island’s ocean environment and the wider community.



Maui is the water sports capital!

Maui has a worldwide reputation as the premier windsurfing destination. It is world famous for surfing with the world’s largest rideable wave at Peahi. Maui’s reputation is well deserved with some of the most consistent winds, large surf, world class dive sites and miles of beaches and rugged coastline. Maui is home to hundreds of professional ocean athletes, world champions, and professional competitions. Maui has a significant watersports equipment manufacturing industry, and is home base and R&D center for several international manufacturers of watersports equipment. 

Watersports Community

Maui’s watersports community has a large number of extremely talented watermen and women whose experience can be measured in decades, sometimes generations.

Some of these watersports experts will choose a career as Professional Watersports Instructors (commercial operators), out of a love for the ocean and their passion for their individual discipline or sport.

There is a vast diversity of skills and sports that are represented by the group of commercial operators. As individuals, many of them possess a combination of skills spanning several disciplines, and incorporating a lifetime of experiences.

The combined knowledge-base of the commercial operators experience is hundreds of years, centuries (perhaps even millennia) in Maui’s unique ocean environment. The potential of this human resource should not be underestimated.


Commercial operators provide a valuable community service:

Primarily, watersports instruction creates a safe environment for new ocean users to learn various sports. They teach safety, ocean awareness, and respect for the ocean. Every student they teach will have instilled in them fundamental skills for ocean survival. This will enhance the ocean awareness of the population as a whole. Commercial operators have a duty of care to inform and protect their students.

Secondly, watersports instructors provide a service as quasi-lifeguards. Their experienced eyes are constantly scanning the ocean for trouble. They identify and diffuse potentially dangerous situations in their environment. They provide information to the public on ocean conditions, whether it is safe to enter at a particular location or time. They advise the public of the more suitable locations for people of varying skill levels, direct people to swim at patrolled beaches. They warn fellow ocean users of dangerous ocean conditions such a rip tides, shallow reefs, snags, submerged hazards, local rules, regulations, and ocean etiquette.

Thirdly, they often directly intervene in emergencies where lifeguards are not present. Watersports instructors save lives, perform rescues, provide resuscitation, CPR, and first aid to victims in offshore emergencies. For example: scuba instructors have provided life support and oxygen to heart attack victims on un-patrolled beaches; Windsurfing instructors perform offshore rescues after the lifeguards go off duty at 3pm; Surf instructors, both on and off duty perform rescues of struggling swimmers or recover drowning victims with their surfboards.


The County position

Unfortunately and sadly, the County seems to be headed toward greater restrictions of the commercial watersports community. Restriction forces smaller operators out of business, and forces “would be” legitimate operators underground to operate illegally. When an operator goes “underground” the County loses the ability to regulate them. It does not seem realistic for the County to believe that it can solve the problem by enforcement alone.  Such a course could prove a very expensive and frustrating experience, a waste of resources for minimal results.

The overall outcome, for the benefit of all, would be the County’s encouragement of an intelligent regulation of the activities with regard to safety and liability. To this end it should encourage inclusiveness and co-operation from every operator, especially non-participating operators.


Population growth & tourism

Since 1970 the population of Maui has grown from 30,000 to 120, 000.  It has, quadrupled. Maui has also promoted itself as a tourist destination. The County itself spends 3.5 million dollars annually promoting tourism via the MVB. Tourism, which was in its infancy in the 1970s, has blossomed into an indispensable industry that is vital to our island’s economy at every level. There are an estimated 2.5 million visitors to Maui annually. Each one has been lured here with Maui’s reputation for being the world’s premier Island destination.

Tourism is Hawaii’s #1 industry. There are 7,460,000 websites about Maui. 1,900,000 pages about Maui vacations, 507,000 mention scuba, 337, 000 for surfing, 210,000 pages mention watersports, 167,000 mention kayaking, 46,100 mention windsurfing. These websites promote Maui as a tropical paradise, with an abundance of watersports activities to be enjoyed, snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, ocean swimming, boating, windsurfing, and surfing.

Included among these websites are the government’s: www.visitmaui.com. www.gohawaii.com and www.hawaii.gov/tourism


Demand for instruction

The demand is here. Thirty-five years of promotion, word of mouth and reputation, has created an unprecedented demand for water sports activities on Maui. This demand will not go away. If access to lessons is denied, people will just go out and rent or buy equipment and go it alone.

People renting water sports equipment unsupervised, currently outnumber students in lessons by at least ten-to-one. A significant number of water sports participants own their own equipment or bring it with them from the mainland.

Lessons taught by commercial operators only represent a small part of all ocean users. However, the people who request lessons are the ones most in need of assistance. They are for the most part raw beginners or, they have some experience, but need guidance in the local conditions.


Ocean exposure

The ocean is a tricky place. People are not born knowing how to survive in the ocean. They are taught. Many people growing up around the ocean may take for granted the sum total of experiences that have taught them ocean safety.

Millions of visitors rush headlong into the ocean, with very little knowledge of the risks or dangers. People will enter the ocean with or without instruction, blissfully unaware that they could be making bad choices, and putting themselves and others at risk.

The County has a huge liability exposure with millions of untrained and unsupervised people entering the ocean annually.

County lifeguards have a limited scope of operation, with a selected number of beach parks patrolled, and limited hours of operation. Ideally lifeguards should be posted at every County beach park from sunrise to sunset. However this would be expensive. In the meantime experienced and trained professional watersports instructors (commercial operators) are watching over their patrons and the public as well. Any move by the County to reduce the presence of professional watersports instructors, or restrict the safe distribution of commercial operations would diminish the overall level of safety of the ocean using public.

To reproduce the knowledge-base of our professional watersports instructors (commercial operators) with professional life guarding services would cost the County millions of dollars annually. Even, perhaps more than 5 million dollars each year, in addition to the $4.3 million already budgeted for County lifeguard operations.



If any person asks for watersports instruction, or asks for an expert guide to assist them entering the ocean, they should be allowed to do so at any beach.

If the County restricts their right to have the guidance and protection of an expert, it is like refusing someone a life jacket. 


We are at the crossroads

The County has within its reach a wonderful (cost effective) resource, which improves ocean safety for the general public: watersport instructors. The County can choose to appreciate this asset, and harness it effectively.

Or, the County can over-regulate, restrict or ban commercial operators from County parks, forcing professional watersports instructors out of business, thereby diminishing the pool of specialized talents that is an asset to our community.  What a terrible waste of the human resource potential that would be.


Healthy Activities in Hawaii threatened by County Regulation;

Surfing, Windsurfing, Kitesurfing, Scuba Diving, Kayaking, and Snorkeling.

These are some of the healthy activities enjoyed by Hawaiian families and visitors. These activities lead to healthy lifestyles based on outdoor activity and physical exercise.

 On Maui the County Parks Department has finalized new rules that could force most of the existing watersports schools out of business. Surf schools, windsurf, kitesurf, scuba, snorkel, kayak schools and instructors are all at risk. The new rules proposed by the Parks Director are so restrictive that they pose an imminent threat to the schools. These school operators need a county issued permit called an ORAP Ocean Recreation Activity Permit. And the County has made new requirements that are impossible for the schools to comply with. Many of these schools are family owned small businesses, that employ many local instructors, and all kinds of support staff. These schools provide important lessons, on water safety and ocean awareness. Most of these schools have been serving the community for a decade or more, without any problems. These watersports schools provide instruction to local families, High school, and elementary school groups. Watersports education teaches the students to respect the ocean and the basic skills. Beginners entering the ocean for the first time are the most vulnerable group of ocean users, and require guidance. With some basic instruction they will begin to develop a sense of safety in the ocean. This is a benefit to all the water users. ORAP Schools provide an important safety net for inexperienced ocean users. And they provide an important service for our community.

Please let the Maui County know that they should change these rules, to prevent the loss of our schools and professional watersports education on Maui.


In any life threatening emergency call 911

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