PORT ALLEN — The new slips at Port Allen Small Boat Harbor opened Friday.
And anxious fisherman and boaters are celebrating new floating docks that have been a long time coming.
“This is exciting,” said Howard Plahy who was checking out the new docks Friday. “It’s been delayed several times, and I was forced to move my boat out. I had it in dry dock, and now I have a slip, so I’m planning on getting the boat back in the water before the year ends.”
It’s been a year-long project that’s clogged the parking lot, and now Port Allen Small Boat Harbor is home to new aluminum framed floating docks with plastic lumber decking, including all new electrical and water utilities.
Under the direction of the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, funded by state money totaling $3.8 million, the existing fixed concrete dock was replaced with a floating dock. The number of slips increased from 35 to 42 due to the installation of additional finger piers on the makai side of the makai pier. Hawaiian Dredging Construction, Inc. was contracted for the project.
The project was initially scheduled to start in April 2017, but was delayed due to permitting requirements, according to DOBOR.
“I’m so happy it’s happening,” said Kauai representative Dee Morikawa, who helped get the project going and has been monitoring progress. “They’ve redone the docks. They used to be concrete. I think it’s better for safety and for rising tides.”
All slip permittees were required to vacate their slips in February 2018. Some permittees were able to obtain temporary moorage at Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor and others had to trailer their vessels off site. Friday boaters started gearing up to get their vessels in the new slips, even though electricity hasn’t been connected yet.
“Actually, we can live without electricity, but I’m used to having electricity for the boat,” Plahy said.“A lot of the people who had boats docked here moved their boats to the Port Allen Fishing Club while the construction was going on. Yesterday, when they saw everything open up, they put a rush on their projects they worked on while the boats were out of water.”
Cisco Campos does not have a boat, but was also excited about the opening of the harbor.
“I come here all the time to fish off the breakwater,” Campos said. “When they were working on the harbor, the road (to the breakwater) was closed so I had to fish from across the bay. Yesterday, I saw other people fishing and that’s how I knew the harbor opened.”
Now, boaters and fishermen say the ope is that the harbor holds up during storm and seasonal surges.
“The other dock where the boats pump their toilets was damaged by the surge when the ramp jumped the track and tore up some of the lumber. They replaced those, but I hope everything holds up against the surge. It’s new, so I guess we’ll see,” Plahy said.
And while boaters are getting settled in, fishermen like Campos are glad to have their usual routes to fishing spots back.
“This is a good place to fish,” he said. “I come here all the time. I bring the grandkids, too because they can fish on the harbor side. It doesn’t matter what kind of fish they catch, we just release them. The grandkids have a lot of fun.”
Jessica Else, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.