Slip fees being discussed
Last week a Water Ways reader suggested I encourage boaters in Hawaii to attend a series of hearings regarding proposed boat-slip fee increases for our public marinas.
He's right, of course, but I've got to say that considering these increases have been overdue by at least a decade, it would seem there is little to discuss.
Compared to marinas elsewhere in the U.S., Hawaii's slip fees are so far behind the curve it's laughable.
In fact, if the Department of Land and Natural Resources' Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation had increased its slip fees to a rate commensurate with their value even five years ago, I'm sure boaters wouldn't be plagued with the disintegrating marinas they have today.
Nonetheless, beginning Tuesday, the DLNR will hold the first two of nine statewide public hearings. On Oahu, they will be at the Jefferson Intermediate School cafeteria in Waikiki and the Kapalama Elementary School cafeteria, both from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
At the same time on the following evening, three more hearings on Oahu will be held at the King Intermediate School cafeteria in Kaneohe, Waianae District Park and Haleiwa Surf Center.
All interested parties are invited to give written or verbal comments on the proposed rate increases for recreational moorings, offshore moorings, commercial fees and annual user fees for boat launching ramps.
The complete text of the changes is available online at the DOBOR Web site, but briefly, the increases will vary from harbor to harbor, depending on the level of services available to boaters.
For instance, in the first year, the Ala Wai slip fees would go from $4.10 per foot a month to $5.25, whereas the fees at Waianae or Haleiwa would go from $2.80 per foot a month to $3.75.
An additional increase the following year to $5.67 and $4.05 respectively, would be contingent on the legislative approval of a $10 million reimbursable capital improvement bond.
With a similar bond approval after that, the fees would rise once more to $6.12 and $4.37. The apparent logic being that the bond issues would pay for improved facilities, which then will have more value to the boaters.
For someone who, in the early 1960s, watched California's Marina del Rey go from a river-mouth marsh to a world-class marina that's home to some 6,000 boats (which are charged $9 to $18 per linear foot per month) it's a no-brainer.
It might be too little, too late, but Hawaii has seen the price for everything else rise in the last decade, so why shouldn't our boat mooring fees be adjusted upward?
Perhaps with proper funding, DOBOR might finally live up to its advertised mission to "enrich the lives of Hawaii's residents and visitors by providing facilities for recreational boating and supporting opportunities for ocean activities."
is a free-lance writer based in Honolulu. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org