Water Ways

By Ray Pendleton

Saturday, February 2, 2002

Cayetano’s promises
still unfulfilled

Gov. Cayetano's recent state of the state address reminded me that with his final term in office nearly complete, there are still a few campaign promises he made that may go unfulfilled.

About eight years ago, in an effort to appeal to Hawaii's recreational boaters, Cayetano proposed a five-step plan to address their concerns and to "create a world-class boating program within the Department of Land and Natural Resources."

The first step, he said in a well-circulated flier, was to put major emphasis on a more direct operational management, with appropriate support for all state boating facilities.

I can honestly say I wasn't sure what he meant then and I'm not sure I know now. But, as best as anyone can tell, the management of the state's "small boat harbors" hasn't appreciatively changed since the DLNR took them over from the Department of Transportation in 1992.

The second step in Cayetano's proposal was to release previously appropriated priority funds to jump-start the maintenance needs of all of the state's boating facilities.

Last year's critical management evaluation of the DLNR's Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, or a quick tour of almost any of its boating facilities, seems to prove those funds were either insufficient or nonexistent.

The governor's third step was to ask for an investigation to determine how to more efficiently and appropriately use the lands and facilities under the Boating Program's jurisdiction to bring in needed revenues to make the program truly self-sufficient.

Hopefully, this proposal may finally come to fruition due to last year's changes made by legislature in our state laws regarding land use and privatization.

Unless opponents find a way to delay it, the Ala Wai marina, at least, could be under private management and see additional revenue-producing businesses under construction around it by the end of 2002.

The fourth step Cayetano offered was to begin an evaluation for the placement of some law enforcement authority with the state's Harbor Agents (Harbor Masters) and to assure appropriate security and response to the needs of boaters.

I doubt there are many boat owners in Hawaii who have seen any increase in the security for their vessels in the past eight years unless they have moved into a private marina like Ko Olina or one of the several yacht clubs on Oahu.

As for law enforcement on the water, the state relies on the U.S. Coast Guard almost exclusively.

Finally, Cayetano proposed the creation of a comprehensive, statewide boating program that would include clearly defined responsibilities and operational standards for all boaters and facilities.

In reality, empirical evidence seems to show that "bureaucracy as usual" is still alive and well and, in general, the status quo has been maintained.

The governor used the term "world-class" to describe his vision for the state's boating program. But, in the past decade, it seems the only world-class improvements in Hawaii's boating infrastructure have been at the privately operated Ko Olina Marina and the Waikiki Yacht Club.

Perhaps, with privatization, there's hope for the Ala Wai marina as well?

Ray Pendleton is a free-lance writer based in Honolulu.
His column runs Saturdays in the Star-Bulletin.
He can be reached by e-mail at

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