State threatening to seize 10 boats at Ala Wai Boat Harbor, citing expired permits

The state said boat owners can contest their case.
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 4:33 PM HST|Updated: May. 26, 2023 at 4:41 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Time’s up for 10 boaters who’ve overstayed their temporary harbor permits.

The state recently began issuing impoundment notices and one owner says he could lose his boat ― even though he’s current on his rent.

“I’m being kicked out. I have nowhere to go,” said Scot Wagner, owner of a 58-foot long sailboat “Windy.” “The state has a monopoly on marinas, and they will not let me stay here.”

Wagner’s boat has been docked at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor since October under a temporary mooring permit, which recently expired. He’s asking the state for extra time to repair his boat so he can sail it back to Mexico.

Wagner said his autopilot mechanism has been damaged and that the parts needed to fix it have been delayed by supply chain disruptions.

“There’s room everywhere, there’s room in Keehi. This marina is probably only 60% full. But they just simply look at a piece of paper and say you can’t be here,” he said.

While Wagner said he is current on his rent, the state disputes that.

Officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources added that Wagner can move his boat to other state harbors or even privately owned ones.

But Wagner said the other harbors are too small.

“This is essentially the only marina that can fit my boat. And they will not let me stay here or any other state marina,” Wagner said.

Wagner is one of 10 boat owners who were recently issued notices for overstaying the 120-day period.

Rather than pay the impoundment fees, he said many boat owners will simply abandon their boats.

“There are five or six impounded boats that are chained to the dock,” he said.

“There’s a joke among the cruising community. It’s Hawaii is where boats go to die.”

The state said boat owners can contest their case by seeking an administrative hearing within five days of receiving their notices.