University of Vermont AAHS

Hawaii Recreational Use Statute



[520-1]. Purpose

The purpose of this chapter is to encourage owners of land to make land and water areas available to the public for recreational purposes by limiting their liability toward persons entering thereon for such purposes.


[520-2]. Definitions

As used in this chapter:

"Charge" means the admission price or fee asked in return for invitation or permission to enter or go upon the land.

"House guest" means any person specifically invited by the owner or a member of the owner's household to visit at the owner's home whether for dinner, or to a party, for conversation or any other similar purposes including for recreation, and includes playmates of the owner's minor children.

"Land" means land, roads, water, water courses, private ways and buildings, structures, and machinery or equipment when attached to realty, other than lands owned by the government.

"Owner" means the possessor of a fee interest, a tenant, lessee, occupant, or person in control of the premises.

"Recreational purpose" includes but is not limited to any of the following, or any combination thereof: hunting, fishing, swimming, boating, camping, picnicking, hiking, pleasure driving, nature study, water skiing, winter sports, and viewing or enjoying historical, archaeological, scenic, or scientific sites.

"Recreational user" means any person who is on or about the premises that the owner of land either directly or indirectly invites or permits, without charge, entry onto the property for recreational purposes.

[520-3]. Duty of care of owner limited

Except as specifically recognized by or provided in section 520-6, an owner of land owes no duty of care to keep the premises safe for entry or use by others for recreational purposes, or to give any warning of a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity on such premises to persons entering for such purposes, or to persons entering for a purpose in response to a recreational user who requires assistance either directly or indirectly, including but not limited to rescue, medical care, or other form of assistance. 


[520-4]. Liability of owner limited

(a) Except as specifically recognized by or provided in section 520-6, an owner of land who either directly or indirectly invites or permits without charge any person to use the property for recreational purposes does not:
(1) Extend any assurance that the premises are safe for any purpose;
(2) Confer upon the person the legal status of an invitee or licensee to whom a duty of care is owed;
(3) Assume responsibility for, or incur liability for, any injury to person or property caused by an act of omission or commission of such persons; and
(4) Assume responsibility for, or incur liability for, any injury to person or persons who enter the premises in response to an injured recreational user.

(b) An owner of land who is required or compelled to provide access or parking for such access through or across the owner's property because of state or county land use, zoning, or planning law, ordinance, rule, ruling, or order, to reach property used for recreation purposes, or as part of a habitat conservation plan, or safe harbor agreement, shall be afforded the same protection as to such access, including parking for such access, as an owner of land who invites or permits any person to use that owner's property for recreational purposes under subsection (a).

[520-5]. Exceptions to limitations

Nothing in this chapter limits in any way any liability which otherwise exists:

(1) For wilful or malicious failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, or structure which the owner knowingly creates or perpetuates and for wilful or malicious failure to guard or warn against a dangerous activity which the owner knowingly pursues or perpetuates.

(2) For injury suffered in any case where the owner of land charges the person or persons who enter or go on the land for the recreational use thereof, except that in the case of land leased to the State or a political subdivision thereof, any consideration received by the owner for such lease shall not be deemed a charge within the meaning of this section.

(3) For injuries suffered by a house guest while on the owner's premises, even though the injuries were incurred by the house guest while engaged in one or more of the activities designated in section 520-2(3).


[520-6]. Persons using land

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to:

(1) Create a duty of care or ground of liability for injury to persons or property.

(2) Relieve any person using the land of another for recreational purposes from any obligation which the person may have in the absence of this chapter to exercise care in the person's use of such land and in the person's activities thereon, or from the legal consequences of failure to employ such care.


[520-7]. Rights

No person shall gain any rights to any land by prescription or otherwise, as a result of any usage thereof for recreational purposes as provided in this chapter.


Amended in
Reviewed by AAHS in July 2001.

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