The boat was travelling off Big Island when rocks and debris were hurtled into the air.
The water flashes to steam, which causes the lava to explode into fragments, she said.
The lava is coming from the Kilauea volcano, which has been erupting from a rural residential area since early May. Beside the hazards, several companies operate such tours. The U.S. Coast Guard also said in a press release that the safety zone now stands at 300 meters, of 984 feet, from an ocean entry, with no exclusions.
According to the Hawaii County Fire Department, the incident occurred early Monday morning.
The U.S. Coast Guard responded to a call around 6 a.m. that crew members and passengers were injured after a "basketball-sized" scrap of lava tore through a tour boat's roof, county officials told Hawaii News Now.
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The state's Department of Land and Natural Resources said one passenger broke a leg and others had been burned after the incident on Tuesday (NZT). It prohibits vessels from getting closer than 984 feet from ocean-entry points.
He didn't observe "any major explosions", so he navigated his vessel closer, to about 250 yards away from the lava.
Government officials have also been warning about the dangers of laze, potentially risky mix of hydrochloric acid, steam and tiny glass particles in the air that results from the interaction of the lava and the water. There were no warning signs before the blast, according to Turpin.
Kilauea is one of the world's most active volcanos and one of five on the island.
Passengers on another nearby tour boat captured the explosion and can be heard gasping and calling out "wow" and "this is the big show" as the eruption happened.
A collapse explosion event, which is measured in quake magnitude, caused an increase of activity from fissure 8 resulting in some channel overflows, USGS said. Later Monday, officials added that 10 other passengers were treated at the harbor, raising the number of injured to 23.