Where the Maui County Department of Liquor Control is concerned, even doing the right thing sometimes isn’t enough. The crew of the tour boat Prince Kuhio knows this only too well.
During the May 5 Board of Adjudication hearing, Maui-Molokai Sea Cruises, which owns the Kuhio, got $4,500 in fines for allowing—not serving—four minors to drink alcohol during a charter cruise.
“This has never happened to us before,” Chief Operating Officer Cindy Koehne told the Board. “It never occurred to me how easy it is for minors to consume on a vessel without your knowledge.”
The trouble that befell the boat is more than simply semantics. During the Sept. 23, 2004 charter cruise in question, the Kuhio’s bartender carded the minors when they first tried to buy drinks. Immediately realizing they were minors, she refused them and then told the rest of the crew not to serve them. As far as the LC investigators could determine, none of the crew ever served the minors—all 17 and 18-year-old girls—during the cruise.
The problem, as Koehne later said, was that “They were hell-bent on drinking on the boat.” Because the Kuhio only had one crewmember actively looking after the 60 passengers, it became fairly easy for the four minors to serve themselves.
LCDirector Franklyn Silva said the issue was… that we allowed them to consume,” Koehne told the Board. “It doesn’t matter if they went to the bathroom and pulled out a flask—we allowed it… We didn’t serve them. But they did get it.”
The girls took advantage of the fact that no wristbands were issued to people authorized to drink. And that all drinks—hard and soft—were poured into the same type of cup. And that just one member of crew had an LC Bar/Manager card. And especially from the fact that someone had placed a couple beer kegs 10 feet away from the bar.
While making her penalty case, Prosecuting Attorney Angela Hedge was as dramatic as usual—even saying at one point that the kids had been “drinking all night.” In fact, they were only on the boat from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. But she was funny.
“We’re talking about 17 and 18-year-olds,” she told the Board. “They get stupid.” MTW