Fee hikes due to take effect on November 1

Faced with nearly US$310m of maintenance and capital improvement costs at some 16 small boat harbours around the state, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DLNR) is imposing fee hikes on November 1 that could, in some instances, double a boater’s mooring fee.

Last fiscal year, the harbour fund, which was meant to be self-sufficient, ended US$2m in the red, according to Honolulu Civil Beat. Boating division administrator Ed Underwood said that the previous fee schedule, approved in 2011, was not enough to cover all of the projects.

A group of local boaters at Ala Wai Boat Harbor are protesting the fee increases, which organiser Kate Thompson said should be phased-in.

“They’re pricing out a lot of boaters, just by making it out of reach of middle-income people,” Thompson said.

She also took issue with the boating division’s new appraisal process for setting fees.

Opponents contend increased revenue will be offset by people leaving the small boat harbours.

Past fee increases were minimal. At Ala Wai Boat Harbor, for example, fees for boats went up from US$5.25 a foot to US$5.67 a foot between 2006 and 2011. The new per-foot fee will be US$13, Civil Beat reports.