About Hawaii Boaters

Launched in March 2004, HawaiiBoaters.Org forms the basis for a grassroots (barnacles up) organization to lobby for the improvement of the state-managed harbors of Hawaii.  If you are unfamiliar with boating in Hawaii or the state-managed small boat harbors, then here are a few of the problems:

  • Waiting lists for a slip in most harbors span years to decades.
  • Maintenance backlog for the harbors may be $200 million or more.
  • Harbors have abandoned slips and entire piers due to lack of maintenance.
  • Harbor bathrooms are notoriously bad.  (Beyond description)
  • Law enforcement is minimal on state harbor property.
  • Homeless, drunks, druggies, & bums live in harbor parking lots.
  • Liveaboards are allowed in only two state harbors.
  • There are few private marinas – all on Oahu.

There are many reasons why the harbors have deteriorated.  Beyond instances of corruption, fiscal ineptitude, and fees that haven’t changed since 1994, the Hawaii State Auditor wrote in her 2001 report:

“Inadequate management of state boating facilities has been a recurring problem.  Our prior audits in 1993 and 1998 reported on these deficiencies.  In our present audit, we found that little had changed in the poor conditions of these state boating facilities.  The boating program's mismanagement and neglect have deteriorated facilities to the point where their continued use threatens public safety.”

Earlier this year I attended two Legislative committee hearings.  In neither hearing did DLNR nor DOBOR present a plan to resolve the situation.  Instead, they salivated over a $10 million bond request submitted by the Governor.  Had that request been approved, half of it was targeted to correct EPA violations – not harbor repairs or improvements.

In his February 14 Honolulu Star-Bulletin Water Ways column, Ray Pendleton discussed the dysfunctional state marinas.  Dysfunctional is a perfect description of the state managed marinas of Hawaii.

Under existing laws, regulations, staffing, and funding, neither the Department of Land and Natural Resources nor its Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation has the ability to repair let alone improve the small boat harbors of Hawaii.

With HawaiiBoaters.Org, our goal is to motivate a vocal contingent of boaters to press the state to privatize many of the state harbors.  Where privatization is impractical, the Legislature must fund the maintenance and improvement of the remaining harbors.  Over the next few months, we will develop a detailed plan for this goal.

So who are we?  We started as me, my mouse, and a mentor, but since launching the website, a growing number of dissatisfied boaters around Hawaii have contacted me.

Boaters, a notoriously independent lot, are fed up with the crappy boat harbors of Hawaii.  Please wander about the website.  If you are as dissatisfied with the harbors as we are, then please get involved.  We need everyone to speak up.

A hui hou,

Dennis K. Biby
s/v Sun Po
Keehi Small Boat Harbor on Oahu
Email:  WebSailor

P.S.  About me – I’ve been an officer in the U.S. Navy, electronics engineer, software developer, entrepreneur, et al.  Since 1986, I’ve lived aboard and sailed my Pearson 35 sloop - Sun Po - on the Chesapeake Bay, Eastern seaboard, and San Francisco Bay.  In 2001, I single-handed to Hawaii.

Having stayed in nearly one hundred marinas in ten states, I’ve seen marinas that were dives, marinas that were nice, and marinas with tennis courts and swimming pools.  Everywhere but Hawaii, there was a choice – a choice based upon desires and finances.  In Hawaii there is no choice.  And on the present course, in a few years there won’t be any harbors.


Email WebSailor with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2004 Hawaii Boaters Org.  All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all images are the property of Hawaii Boaters Org.
Last modified: 05/12/04

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