More ideas for improving the Ala Wai

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin 03/23/02)
By Ray Pendleton

What features make up a first-rate recreational boating marina?

Last week this column was devoted to suggestions for improving the Ala Wai marina with criteria derived from a list of marina features Sea Magazine had recently used to compare and grade West Coast boating facilities.

The list seemed appropriate because the state Board of Land and Natural Resources is currently studying how best to lease the land surrounding the marina as a way to improve the facility and increase the revenue income from it.

This week, with information from another boating magazine, a trade publication, Boat & Motor Dealer/Marina Dock Age, I think we can learn of a few more considerations the BLNR might mull over.

In an article by Ron Stone, chairman of the International Council of Marine Industry Associations, he points out that one of the task's of that group's Marina Committee is to spot worldwide trends in marina development.

The first trend Stone mentions is the growth of dry stack storage.

"As a result of a trend toward ever-larger, sea-going pleasure yachts, stimulated by the exceptional economic growth on the 1990s, more marinas and boat yards are reconfiguring slip space to keep up with the demand for space for luxury yachts exceeding 70 feet in length," Stone writes.

"In the process, small boats under 40 feet are being relocated out of wet slips into dry stack storage, as well as (to) marinas and moorings further outside metropolitan areas," he continues.

Stone also points to the fact that developers are running out of waterfront space, due to competition with residential, retail, and office developments, and their inability to meet environmental restrictions.

A second trend Stone highlights should be quickly understood here in Hawai`i.

"More government entities are commissioning government-owned marina construction and expansion," he writes, "(and) justifying expenditure of general taxpayers' money as a way of revitalizing waterfronts, stimulating surrounding business districts, attracting tourists, creating jobs and adding to the tax base."

Interestingly, Stone goes on to say that because in most cases, government lacks the expertise to successfully manage marinas, there is a definite trend toward privatization or leasing management to private enterprise.

THE FINAL TREND Stone points to is one that, so far, is not often noticed around Hawaii's marinas -- environmental concern.

"More marinas and boatyards are voluntarily engaging in recommended best management practices to avoid the risk of water contamination ...," he writes.

This contamination may be from vessel maintenance and repair operations, petroleum storage and transfer, sewage disposal, solid, liquid and hazardous wastes or storm water runoff.

In any case, the management of these facilities are recognizing that clean marinas and boatyards are not only good public relations, but good for business because boat owners desire clean, inviting surroundings.

"The encouraging news is that governments are helping to publicize marinas and boatyards as voluntary clean water practitioners, awarding them Clean Marina flags and plaques ...," Stone notes.

So, it must be asked, will Hawai`i follow worldwide trends and see dry stack boat storage, marina privatization and more concern for the environment any time soon? Keep an eye on the Ala Wai.

Last week's Column ~|~ Water Ways Archives

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