HONOLULU (KHON2) — There is a brand new dock at the boat ramp at Maunalua Bay in Hawaii Kai. But boaters argue that another issue there is causing serious and costly damage to boats, and fixing it comes with an even bigger price tag.
Boaters have said it is especially bad during low tide. Their propellers have been damaged, costing them thousands of dollars to fix them.
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The state recently spent $400,000 installing a loading dock at the boat ramp at Maunalua Bay. The old one had caved in making it unusable, but a bigger problem exists.
“So, if your boat catches the wind and it drifts just a little bit, your prop is going to eat that rock,” said boater Roy Morioka.
KHON2 talked to several boaters who have props or propellers that were destroyed as they brought their boats in. It cost Roy Yamamoto $4,000 to get his replaced.
“The prop got all whacked out of shape, pieces are missing. The prop has certain blades, the blades got wiped out, missing,” Yamamoto said.
Boaters said sand and rocks have accumulated by the ramp, making it too shallow for larger boats to launch or return. Because of this, the area has to be dredged to fix the problem. The state land department’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) said it will cost $1.2 million and will have to be approved by state lawmakers.
In a statement, DOBOR said, “We recommend to the boaters to reach out to their area legislators to request funding and we will speak with them as well.”
“You know we pay a fee right? Harbor fees, water fees, harbor usage, taxes, all that for the boat,” said Yamamoto.
The state is not liable for the damage caused to boats.
“Maintenance is something very low on the state’s priority. They build something and there’s very little money to maintain it, and that’s where the problem is,” said Morioka.
KHON2 reached out to lawmakers in the area who said they requested money for dredging in last year’s 2021 session, but it was not approved. They are doing it again this year in 2022 and plan to push harder to get it done.
“It will be done, definitely. We’re not gonna have these boats skidding and shoaling and bumping, particularly when their engines get hit and then cost them a really big amount of money. So this is an important issue,” said Rep. Gene Ward.
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In the meantime, DOBOR said it will put up signs indicating shallow waters, and ask the Coast Guard to put out a notice to boaters.