Boaters frustrated with poor conditions at Waianae harbor

Waianae Small Boat Harbor

Boaters at Leeward Oahu are fed up. They say Waianae Small Boat Harbor is in constant disrepair and the state is doing little to fix it.

KHON2 went to the harbor and saw several slips roped off and condemned because the piers look like they’re about to collapse. Concrete has worn away, showing the rebar that has rusted out.

Boaters say it’s been like this for several years.

“There’s supposed to be a pier there, supposed to be one here, supposed to be one there. They’ve all fallen in,” said commercial boat captain Downing Braley.

Boaters point out there were some recent renovations done, apparent on one side of the pier. But on the other side, smaller piers are about to go in the water.

“When you go do the job, you should do the whole job, not piecemeal. It affects everybody,” Braley said.

Boaters can’t figure out why renovations were not completed, so we took their complaints to the state to see what can be done.

Ed Underwood, head of the state’s boating and ocean recreation division, says there’s money to fix some of the problems at the harbor, but not enough to fix all of it.

“The legislature has given us money out there,” he said. “(But) we need more money.”

Underwood says money has gone to other harbors that were given priority because they were in worse shape. He says Waianae Harbor has received some of the money.

Of the 146 slips, he says 78 of them have been replaced in the past 10 years. He adds that $1.5 million will go into repairing the piers later this year.

Boaters point out that fixing the piers would also bring in more money.

“Eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, you got how many more slips, you got 20 more slips just on this pier,” Braley said.

Underwood says the state could get money if those slips were fixed. “We can charge mooring fees for that, correct,” he said.

“So it would make sense to fix them?” KHON2 asked.

“Sure would. We’ve been playing catch up for many years,” he replied.

Underwood estimates that fixing the whole pier would cost an additional $12 million.

The state collects a percentage on the millions in revenue harbor operators bring in, but that rent doesn’t all stay at the harbor where it’s earned.

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