Residents: Aging boat ramp in Kailua a 'disaster waiting to happen'

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Even on days when the ocean is calm and winds are down, boat owners hesitate to launch their vessels from the Kailua boat ramp.

"The boat ramp is narrow. It's slippery. There's cracks all through it and it's unprotected," Kailua boat owner Phyllis Horner said. "It's a disaster waiting to happen."

Horner said to use it now you have to disengage the boat trailer from the vehicle and walk it down into the water, a risky maneuver on windy days.

"You have to get in the water. You're being thrown about. Your boat's being thrown about," she said.

Horner has been after the city to repair the ramp to make it safer. She believes a pier needs to be built alongside the launch, cracks repaired, and a non-slip surface added.

"I do agree there exists a dangerous situation at this ramp because of the holes in it and the integrity of the structure of the ramp itself," Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson said.

He said his office has looked into it but for now the city's hands are tied. Any work would need permits from federal and state agencies, and so far the state administration hasn't shown a desire to do move ahead...

"If it was as simple as appropriating money and getting this fixed I would have asked my colleagues on the council to appropriate funds for this a long time ago and have the city perform the work. Unfortunately, the city can't perform any of this work until we obtain these permits," he said.

The boat ramp issue dates back to when Barbara Marshall represented Kailua on the City Council. In 2008, the estimated repair cost was over a million dollars. There were some preliminary talks with state lawmakers, but then it stalled.

Now Horner wants it revived.

"Why would the state and city risk someone getting hurt and a lawsuit. Why not just fix this? Seriously! It's been over ten years," she said.

The state Health Department said it's reviewing the city's request for a water quality certification for the boat ramp work, but that's pending approval of a work permit from the federal Army Corps of Engineers.

The ramp is the only place boaters can launch in Kailua. The nearest boat ramps are in Hawaii Kai and Kaneohe.

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