One of the biggest draws of the Hawaiian Islands is the many volcanoes found in the area, and whether local or visiting, wanting to get close to these destructive spaces is a huge draw for thrill seekers. But recently Hawaii has been seeing an increase in small craft operators bringing illegal lava tours to the area, and putting not only their clients and themselves at risk, but also the first responders who invariably need to be called in when something goes awry.
There are four touring companies in the islands who have the legal green light to offer tours of prominent lava flow areas such as Kilauea, yet more small boat operators around the hot spots are finding that keeping their money transfers on the down low, is providing lucrative and tempting. Recently a video surfaced of a tour receiving visitor to the area swimming dangerously close in the waters to a lava flow making it’s way to the ocean, and though it’s not something that can be penalized under law, as the coast guard has no authority over where people on the island swim, it can pose a serious safety risk to those emergency responders if something goes wrong and they need to be called in.
We understand the appeal and desire to see nature’s power up close, and there is a long and earnest bond between the people of Hawaii and the local volcanos that spot her landscape, but we have managed to establish that bond, and survive to tell the tale by respecting the boundaries that these areas put into place. We are a species that is always looking to push boundaries, and it’s something that has served us well throughout our existence, but we strongly suggest doing so in a way that doesn’t put others at risk. Now we’re not saying to put on a pair of rain boots and walk along the lava fields, but more so if the desire is to see these areas, to do so in a safe and monitored manner, not only to ensure you’re safety, but that of those around you and the other citizens in the Hawaii area.
The licensed tour boats have undergone testing and training to ensure that they know the limits set in place, and what to do in the case of an emergency, hopping onto a privately owned fishing boat doesn’t bring you anywhere near that level of protection, and thereby the means to ensure your safety. If an issue does arise, and the local area coast guard needs to be called in, these licensed operators know exactly how to handle the situation, and how to better react to the matter. It should always stay in mind that illegal operators know they are skirting the law, and if something happens, you may not be able to rely on your guide to be willing to stick around to face the consequences of their actions, leaving you stranded and in danger.