Posted on Mar 6, 2023 in Aquatic Resources, News Releases, slider

For Immediate Release:  March 5, 2023


To view video please click on photo or view at this link: https://vimeo.com/804969722

(HONOLUA BAY, MAUI) – A yacht, fast aground just outside the Honolua-Mokulē’ia Marine Life Conservation District, was pulled off the nearshore rocks around 1 p.m. today.

The salvage ship, Kahi, operated by Visionary Marine LLC and a tractor tug, the Mary Catherine operated by Sause Brothers Inc., both based in Honolulu worked in tandem. A crew from the salvage ship rigged lines to the yacht Nakoa all day Saturday and this morning to prepare for the third attempt in nearly two weeks. Prior to the 3,300-horsepower tug hooking up, the salvage crew used a carbon cutter to free either the yacht’s prop or rudder, believed to be the reason earlier attempts did not succeed.

Today provided ideal weather and ocean conditions for the complex and costly operation. Once the tug turned the boat 90 degrees it pulled out into deeper water.

The yacht was listing to one side and riding bow high and it’s unknown at this time whether it was successfully pulled all the way to Honolulu or had to be scuttled in 1,000-foot-deep water offshore. 

DLNR Chair Dawn Chang watched the salvage operation with Maui Mayor Richard Bissen and Maui County Council member Tamara Paltin. Chang said she heard almost immediately from Randy Cates, the owner and operator of Visionary Marine.

“I’m beyond words,” Chang said, adding, “I extended our appreciation to him and his crew for doing a tough, thankless job when others in the industry were questioning the wisdom of taking it on. We all thought today was it. It was either going to happen or not. I’m extremely pleased.”

From a vantage point above the bay, Chang, Bissen, and Paltin watched as humpback whales almost immediately began escorting the trio of vessels headed west. “If you’re Hawaiian you think about hō‘ailona, or sign. There was no wind until we saw the whales and it suddenly picked up. We all had chicken skin.”

Chang again credited the salvage and tug company’s for sticking with the complex job and thanked the community and those who cherish Honolua Bay for their patience and understanding. She said the state will aggressively pursue recouping all salvage costs from the owner, in addition to the cost to repair damage to coral reefs and live rock. A team from the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources will return to the grounding location this week to conduct a post-incident damage assessment.


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(All images/video courtesy: DLNR)


HD video – Nakoa salvage operation – Honolua Bay (March 5, 2023): https://vimeo.com/804969722


Media Contact:

Dan Dennison

Senior Communications Manager

[email protected]