Honolulu Star-Advertiser: “Topless sunbathing legal under state and city laws”, August 28, 2015

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper’s Kokua Line column at http://www.staradvertiser.com/columnistspremium/20150828_topless_sunbathing_legal_under_state_and_city_laws.html (premium content) answered a question yesterday about the legality of topless sunbathing under city and state laws. The writer of that article “checked with the Honolulu Police Department, the city prosecutor and the city and county’s Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Division to see whether the legal landscape had shifted at all since Kokua Line last addressed this issue about a decade ago. It hasn’t, which means that there is no state law or municipal ordinance specifically prohibiting women from baring their breasts on public beaches.”

The article further states that “There are laws against indecent exposure and lewdness, but neither statute applies to topless sunbathing. The exposure law, Hawaii Revised Statutes 707-734, refers to the intentional exposure of genitals, not breasts. The lewdness law, HRS 712-1217, describes open lewdness as a “gross flouting of community standards in respect to sexuality or nudity in public” that falls short of a sexual offense. The law includes case notes that specifically exclude the exposure of female breasts as an offense. This is an important distinction, lest discreet breast-feeding in public be deemed illegal, for example. A topless sunbather could commit a lewd act, but toplessness in and of itself would not be considered an offense.”

The article editorializes that “While topless sunbathing by women is not illegal, neither is it common, especially at crowded urban Oahu beaches such as Ala Moana Beach Park. Depending how seriously you feel about this issue, you could contact your state legislator or City Council member to urge them to change the law to specifically outlaw topless sunbathing by women on public beaches. This could be tricky constitutionally, HPD has pointed out, given that men go topless all the time.”

As readers of this blog know, indeed nipples of either gender are not considered genitals and both men and women are free to enjoy top free recreation at Hawaii city and county beach parks, although different laws apply to Federal lands and state parks.

Additionally, the Hawaii Supreme Court in the case of State of Hawaii versus Kalama, upheld the right to nonsexual nude sunbathing at Polo Beach (and presumably other locations).


The Kokua Line did acknowledge that “local sensibilities…might vary from site to site” so please continue to responsibly enjoy nude or top free activities at Hawaii beaches which are customarily clothing optional.

Polo Beach Update – June 6, 2015


Since my last update, nothing has changed.  Naturists and nudists continue to enjoy Polo Beach. The overwhelming number of locals and visitors to this beach behave responsibly with aloha while enjoying nude sunbathing and swimming here.

Today, at approximately 3:30 PM, two uniformed Honolulu Police Department (HPD) officers visited the beach. They came in two cars, a marked HPD police cruiser and a private (subsidized) vehicle with the blue light on top. They entered the beach through the public access path, turned right and walked all the way to the end of the beach and back, exited via the public access path, and drove off.

As a precaution, most beach goers covered up with shorts, bikini tops and bottoms, or towels while the officers were there, although top free is 100 percent legal here for men and women. Most people want to avoid confrontations with the police, although the Hawaii State Supreme Court upheld the right to nonsexual nudity on this beach.

The police officers didn’t appear to be looking for anyone, and no one appeared to be  questioned or detained.  They walked all the way to the “gay” end of the beach, so it’s possible someone may have complained about alleged lewd acts taking place there.

This blogger has only seen uniformed HPD officers one other time on this beach and on that occasion, they were looking for a specific individual on charges unrelated to nudity, found and arrested him, and took him away.

Most beach goers here keep bikini bottoms or shorts handy and accessible in the event something like this happens.  There was plenty of warning as people who saw the police officers approaching put on their bottoms and even tops.  If you see many people putting on their bottoms at the same time, it’s probably because a police officer was sighted.

In more pleasant news, this blogger was swimming today at Polo Beach when unexpectedly an adult Hawaiian Monk Seal swam very close to me, surfaced briefly and raised his head out of the water as if to say “hello” and then swam away. Hawaiian Monk Seals are a very endangered species.  If you see one, please do not approach it and stay at least 3 feet away.  Read more about these fascinating creatures at the link below.


Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are commonly seen in the waters at Polo Beach.  Likewise, if you see one, please don’t approach it and stay at least 3 feet away.


Have a great summer and enjoy social nudity and naturism!