National award goes to Ko Olina


POSTED: Sunday, March 22, 2009

Who would have ever imagined?

Marina Dock Age, the only magazine in the U.S. that focuses solely on waterfront facilities, has named a recreational boating facility in Hawaii its 2008 Marina of the Year in its “;Large Marina”; division.

“;Eligible candidates,”; the magazine reads, “;are marinas who rate high in terms of environmental responsibility, customer satisfaction, and commitment to employees and the community.”;

It should come as no surprise then that the award winner isn't any marina operated by Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources, considering our state's dismal record for customer satisfaction as well as maintaining its small boat harbors.

However, the fact the award has come to this state is still somewhat amazing, given the national boating community's usual lack of respect for Hawaii's boating facilities in general.

Marina Dock Age defines a large marina as one with more than 250 slips for boats of any size. So with that fact alone, readers can probably guess there is only one privately run facility in the islands that would possibly qualify: Ko Olina Marina.

But to win against notable marinas across the nation, Ko Olina had to provide documentation for a number of criteria that showed why it deserved such recognition.

The first of these criteria was the amenities it provides to boat owners, and naturally, Ko Olina's 330-slip, state-of-the-art floating concrete docks made a good start. Features such as fresh water, electrical power, cable TV, and Internet access to each slip added the proper creature comforts.

Points were also added in Ko Olina's favor, no doubt, when it noted its marina was a part of a resort that included a golf course, tennis courts, beaches, restaurants, hotels and spas. Very few marinas in the world can boast of such posh features.

How it managed its environmental responsibilities was another of the criteria Ko Olina Marina had to define. It was able to point to having one of the few sewage pump-out stations for boats in the state. It also, as a part of its mooring agreement, requires boat owners to sign a pledge not to discharge sewage into the harbor.

To describe its benefits to the community, which was an additional criterion, Ko Olina first explained, quite accurately, that its facilities help to ease the chronic shortage of boat slips in the state.

It went on to say that it is one of the only marinas in Hawaii that can accommodate vessels larger than 80 feet, and that its 150-foot fuel dock and pump-out station is the first in the state that is able to accommodate “;world-class megayachts.”;

Finally, Ko Olina Marina reported itself influential in the increase of boats 70 feet or longer that have been registered in Hawaii since its expansion in 2006.

Whether this last point is valid or not, the Ko Olina Marina, currently managed by Almar Management Inc. of California, should be congratulated for its success in offering Hawaii's boaters a first-class marina, and for it's being named the Marina Dock Age 2008 Marina of the Year.

Ray Pendleton is a free-lance writer based in Honolulu. He can be reached by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).