09/09/23-QUESTIONS ABOUT THE STATUS OF WEST MAUI WATERWAYS ANSWEREDPosted on Sep 11, 2023 in Boating, Boating & Ocean Recreations, Main, Media, News Releases, slider
|JOSH GREEN, M.D.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2023
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE STATUS OF WEST MAUI WATERWAYS ANSWERED
To view video please click on photo
(LĀHAINĀ, HAWAI‘I) – Prior to the August 8 fire, the Lāhainā Small Boat Harbor was a busy port for private vessels, commercial tour operators, and the interisland ferry service.
Waterway access to the harbor is currently restricted by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), in coordination with the County of Maui, until a full assessment of damage is completed. This will be followed by the removal of potentially dozens of boats, many of which remain safety and navigational hazards as they rest below the ocean surface. After removal of vessels and debris, repair and rebuilding work can begin. There is currently no time estimate for when marina operations may resume at the Lāhainā Small Boat Harbor.
A Unified Command, made up of DLNR, USCG, and the Department of Health, are working with county officials to assess, mitigate, and remove sunken and displaced vessels, pollutants, contaminants, and hazardous materials, and other incident generated debris in and around Lāhainā Harbor.
There were 99 moorings at the harbor, in addition to the ferry pier. The $15 million pier just opened earlier this year. It appears to be relatively unscathed but is not expected to open during salvage operations or in the rebuilding phase.
DOBOR Administrator Ed Underwood said, “We’re all in this together and we’re encouraging patience and cooperation during this time of uncertainty for private and commercial boaters on Maui. Above all, we need to ensure that any access to the small boat harbor by land or sea is safe and done according to any restrictions that are currently in effect.”
The harbor’s continued closure has raised a number of questions from both private and commercial vessel operators.
Answers in BOLD
What slips are available to displaced boaters?
A. The DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR), which operates the harbor, accommodates boaters based on a first come, first served basis. Boaters are asked to check with other state boat harbors for availability.
Are there other West Maui options available for launching of commercial vessels?
A. DOBOR is encouraging commercial operators with existing authorized permits to work with one another. Commercial capacity limits on Maui will not be increased at this time to ensure public health and safety and to address community concerns.
What about Mala Wharf?
A. Currently no water or sewer is available. Mala Wharf may be reopened in the future. Land access permission would have to be granted by Maui County. Waterway access to Mala Wharf is currently by the USCG at the request of the County of Maui.
Will there be a process for fast-tracking special mooring permits?
A. No, and all offshore moorings will need U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) permits for installation. DOBOR is asking the USACE to expedite offshore mooring permitting.
What about opening up empty state or county lands for vessel storage?
A. This possibility is currently under review.
Can support crews and their vehicles gain access to Mala Wharf through the Lāhainā Cannery parking lot?
A. Access from land will require permission from Maui County.
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(All images/video courtesy: DLNR)
HD video – Lāhainā Small Boat Harbor (August 15, 2023):
Photographs – Lāhainā Small Boat Harbor (August 15, 2023):
Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources