Harboring thoughts on sharing
One of the many qualities of civility my parents tried to teach me at a very early age was to learn how to share. And not just sharing things like toys with the other kids in the neighborhood, but to even share the back seat of the family car peaceably with my little sister.
Diminishing one's self-interests, as a child, wasn't always an easy thing to do, but over time it usually turned out to be worth the effort.
This reflection on learning to share surfaced recently during a discussion down at the docks about the state's commercial, military and recreational harbors.
It was my opinion that, while our state has relatively few natural harbors, it isn't likely there will be many new ones created due to environmental constraints. So, I concluded, perhaps someday those who control our islands' various harbors will learn to share.
The largest and best harbor in Hawaii of course is Pearl Harbor, which has been fully controlled and utilized by the U.S. Navy for 120 years. And, except for Rainbow Marina (a small recreational boat mooring for military personnel only) the harbor is home to military and other federal government vessels only.
Consider then just how Oahu's distribution of marine facilities might look if the Navy were to allow commercial shippers dock space somewhere along Pearl Harbor's shoreline.
With the Navy sharing its harbor with the likes of Matson and Horizon lines, and possibly even the Coast Guard, Sand Island's Honolulu Harbor waterfront could then become available for other uses.
Who knows? Once the shipping container facilities were relocated, Sand Island's harbor front could be redeveloped into a low-rise condo and marina complex. What magnificent views those living there would have of downtown Honolulu.
Such a development would, of course, then require some sharing on the part of the state's Department of Transportation that controls the harbor operations there.
Somewhat justifiably, the DOT has been a bit less than hospitable to recreational boaters in recent years, even though there are many boaters who would love to cruise the harbor and visit the Aloha Tower Marketplace.
Naturally in our post-9/11 world there are those who would immediately reject such harbor sharing as a security risk to both commercial shipping and to our Navy.
However it would seem the idea isn't too farfetched if you consider how many mixed-use, well-operated harbors there are strung along both coasts of the mainland U.S.
In California alone, San Diego, Long Beach and San Francisco harbors, all have facilities for vessels ranging from super tankers and aircraft carriers to fishing boats and sailing yachts. And somehow they all seem to coexist.
One thing is certain. As Hawaii's population continues to grow, and the demands on our maritime infrastructure continue to expand, every agency involved will be tasked to make all our harbors more efficient.
Maybe it's time they learn to share.