Kawaihae South Small Boat Harbor dedicated

Kawaihae South Small Boat Harbor, the first new harbor opened in the state in 34 years, was dedicated Monday.


Kawaihae South Small Boat Harbor, the first new harbor opened in the state in 34 years, was dedicated Monday.

The $4.7 million first phase of the project has been completed and includes an American Disabilities Act-approved 435-foot long floating dock, moorings and a comfort station.

“I’ve been told this is 20-plus years in the making,” state Department of Land and Natural Resources Chairman William Aila Jr. told a crowd of about 40 attendees at Monday’s ceremony.

A construction contract for the work was awarded to Hawaiian Dredging in August 2008, but construction didn’t begin until July 1, 2013, because coral found in the harbor. Federal officials told DLNR it could not proceed with dredging until potential damage to coral was mitigated. Coral was relocated to a deeper area of the harbor.

Eric Yuasa, head of the state Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation Engineering Branch, said this is the first time coral mitigation was accomplished and coral was successfully moved away from the construction site. Yuasa credited Aila for insisting on monthly meetings with federal agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers until the solution was found.

Also during Monday’s ceremony, Aila mentioned there are 125 boat slips under construction in Hawaii.

“We’re moving very rapidly to improve our harbor facilities statewide,” he said.

A contract has been awarded to the project’s $2.25 million second phase, which will bring larger water pipes and an improved access road. Additionally, funds have been released for a $1.5 million third phase, which includes a 45-foot long, three-lane launch ramp that is currently under design. Permits still need to be acquired and the contract awarded, Aila said.

With the majority of Hawaii boaters preferring to trailer their vessels, Yuasa said the installation of the new ramp will make the area usable to the largest number of boaters. Winter swells often push sand onto the boat ramp at the north end of Kawaihae Harbor and annual dredging is required to keep the ramp operable, he said.

State Rep. Cindy Evans, Kohala, North Kona, said she has worked for harbor improvements for 11 years and thanked attendees for persevering.


“It is all about the community coming together to make the community what it will be and you’ve all stepped up to the plate,” she said.

The facility was blessed Monday by Billy Mitchell.

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