Rising tithes lift all boats, state vows
Mooring costs increase tomorrow but DLNR vows improvements
Starting tomorrow, it will cost boat owners more to put their vessels in the water or to keep them there.
But state Department of Land and Natural Resources officials said the increases will go directly to making improvements in the harbors across the state.
The state will increase most boating fees around the state, but it will use the expected $100,000 a month in additional revenue to repair and maintain the services currently provided.
If more capital improvement projects are funded, the boat fees will rise again, and the extra money will be used to improve services, DLNR officials said yesterday.
The latest rate increase will pay for projects "to replace collapsed finger piers, fix and repave roads, maintain plumbing lines and conduct other, much-needed repairs at our small-boat harbors around the state," said Peter Young, DLNR chairman, in a news release.
For the first time, mooring rates will be charged depending on where the boat is housed.
The state has created five levels of harbors, with each group charged a different mooring rate, depending on the type of mooring needed.
Ala Wai Harbor will have the highest mooring rates in that state because, state officials said, it has the greatest level of services available to boaters. A "Level B" facility, which includes the "high-demand" harbors Keehi Lagoon, Honokohau, Maalea and Lahaina, officials said, will be charged a greater rate than Level C or "community harbors" in rural areas or on neighbor islands such as those at Haleiwa, Waianae, Nawiliwili, Port Allen, Kailua-Kona and Manele, among others.
Smaller harbors with fewer services, like Wailoa, Kikiaola, North Kawaihae, and those with even fewer services available at harbors such as Hana and Hale O Lono, will be charged the least in fees.
According to DLNR, the proposed increases will be about $28.50 a month for a typical 30-foot vessel; the increase for a 30-footer at Ala Wai will be about $34.50 a month.
Offshore mooring rates and temporary mooring fees are also subject to an increase starting tomorrow, as are those vessels caught mooring without permission. Commercial fees will also go up, with commercial tours giving 3 percent of their gross income to the state, up from the current 2 percent.
On May 1, ramp permit fees will also go up, to $40 from $25.
The fee increase is the first since March 1995, DLNR officials said, and it comes as no surprise to boaters.
More than 20 public meetings have been held since 2002 regarding the harbors and the fee increases. And those already holding mooring licenses have been sent notices in past months, detailing the increases and letting them know exactly how much more they would be paying, officials added.