State workers have finished demolishing the 76 ruined slips at Ala Wai Boat Harbor's F dock.

New Ala Wai boat slips
not expected for a year

The state has razed 76 of the
113 piers that are in disrepair

State workers have finished demolishing 76 unsafe boat slips at the Ala Wai Boat Harbor's F dock, but replacement slips are not expected for more than a year.

The slip shortage means that out-of-state boaters might have a hard time finding a place to park during summer yacht races, said one race organizer.

Normally, a number of participants in the West Marine Pacific Cup Regatta stay at the Ala Wai for weeks after the San Francisco-to-Kaneohe Bay race, said event co-chairman Thomas Pochereva.

This year, 113 of the Ala Wai's 747 slips are unusable because of disrepair. That means almost every slip is occupied by a long-term renter, leaving little space for transient boaters.

"We're kind of apprehensive about where they're going to go," said Pochereva, a member of Kaneohe Yacht Club, which hosts a biennial race of 70 boats. This year's race begins June 28 in San Francisco.

"We're very concerned there's not going to be enough space," he said.

The Waikiki Offshore Regatta, which runs July 31 to Aug. 8, is not in such a pinch because one of its sponsors is Marisco, which will allow participants to dock at its commercial facility at Barbers Point, said Steve Thomas, regatta chairman and Waikiki Yacht Club commodore.

"It seems like without our connection with Marisco, we'd be up a creek," he said.

The Ala Wai is the state's largest public recreational boat harbor and has 562 boaters on its slip waiting list.

There are no temporary spaces at the Ala Wai right now, said harbor master Meghan Statts. Her staff is referring boaters to other state facilities and to private docks like Ko Olina and La Mariana.

The best-case scenario for replacing the 76 slips on F dock would be that bids are sought later this month and awarded in March with work starting in July, said Eric Hirano, chief of engineering for the state Department of Land & Natural Resources. Completion is expected in March 2005.

The project calls for the F dock to be rebuilt with 76 slips including utilities.

The other 37 unusable Ala Wai slips have not been scheduled for repair. The DLNR, which oversees the boating division, has asked the Legislature for $10 million in capital improvement funds to repair state small-boat harbors this year but has not specified where the money would be spent.

The $10 million requested for harbors must first go toward "health and safety issues" at the harbors, which will include replacement of cesspools with more modern sewage treatment, said DLNR Director Peter Young. Upgrading of cesspools by April 2005 is a nationwide mandate from the Environmental Protection Agency.

State workers demolished the Ala Wai's F dock over the past month to shave $60,000 off the cost of a new dock, Hirano said.

Last June, the state rejected the original low bid for replacing F dock, because it was $108,000 higher than the $750,000 the state had earmarked for the job. An attempt to negotiate a lower price resulted in a protest of the bid by a vendor.

"The state is losing a lot of money on this because they don't have a lot of money coming in," said Ala Wai boater John Spadero.

At the Ala Wai slip rental rate of $4.10 a linear foot of boat per month, the lost annual revenue for 113 average 40-foot boats would be $222,384.

Pochereva said he wonders how the state let things get to this point.

"It's an incredibly bad situation," Pochereva said of the state's backlog of maintenance. "They treat it like it's a secondhand child."


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