The meeting was held at the Honolulu Community College Maritime Training Center and had 39 attendees.
Call To Order:
Robin Bond called the meeting to order.
Hawaii Clean Water Act Implications for Marine Activities
The Department of Health has recently established regulations regarding the discoloration of harbor water. This can be caused by anything including fresh water. We would like to set up a working committee to look into this issue and perhaps develop an informational package to take to the DOH and seek further clarification of this policy.
If anyone is interested in being on the subcommittee please let Bill know.
Maritime Industry Day and Safety at Sea Subcommittee
LCDR Rick Raksnis
Rick reported that the USCG has successfully held a Maritime Industry Day conference. With the help of the Propeller Club we put together a half day event. This is the first one held in three years. It is expected that this will again become an annual event.
Rick also gave an update on the Safety at Sea Subcommittee.
Inter Island Ferry Service
A company has been formed to introduce ferry service to Hawaii . The vessels planned can carry 866 passengers and up to 262 cars. They are initially planning a two ship fleet. Ultimately we may have up to four or five vessels since three of the busiest air routes in the United States serve the main Hawaiian Islands . The super ferry will have all of the comforts or a cruise ship, food, video games and comfortable seating. Thousands of people visited the sister ship that visited earlier this year.
Cost comparisons for a family of 5 to visit the neighbor islands for three days and rent a car is about $1,200 dollars. To do the same via the ferry would cost about half that much.
Their business plan is if they can get 7% of the travel market they will break even. The ferry is essentially a hybrid catamaran. This embodies the most capabilities and combination of advantages including speed, cargo load and amenities. These vessels are currently operating in some very rough water around the world and they have a proven performance record. Hawaii is the only large archipelago in the world that doesn’t have ferry service. Compared to other markets the Canary Islands seem to be the closest model to Hawaii . They have just ordered their sixth vessel. They have similar ocean systems, tourist populations and distances between islands. Ferry service there has been successful.
Currently the airlines are carrying about 24,000 to 25,000 passengers per day. They plan to cut the inter-island travel price in an effort to increase travel. Many in Hawaii only travel to the neighbor islands for major family occasions. By lowering travel costs we may see more inter-island travelers. The ferry may not take any passengers away from the airlines but rather take advantage of the increase in the number of travelers.
They estimate that they will create as many as 350 direct jobs and perhaps three times that number in indirect jobs. They have been working this project since 2001. They are currently building their first ferry in Mobile Alabama at the Austal USA yard. This will be their eighth vessel. They are 105 meters long and 22 meters wide with a 12 foot draft. In performance, the turn around time at the docks is very quick. In the Canary Islands a ferry with a full load of passengers and cars can turn around in 16 minutes. The current plan is to be operational in late 2006.
Honolulu , Kawaihae Kahului and Nawiliwili will be the first routes. The ships are designed to be sea-kindly for passenger comfort. They are designed to work in 5 meter significant wave heights. Their studies of the channel weather indicates that they should be able to operate at their nominal 35 knot speeds most of the time.
A number of questions were asked on topics from whale collision avoidance tactics, ticket cost structures, loading and off loading schemes and routes.
Small Craft Warning Criteria
Alan Olson, Director of Operations, National Weather Service
Changes to the small craft advisory criteria are being considered by the National Weather Service. This presentation is an outreach effort by NWS to solicit HOST input to this process.
Effective November 15, 2004 the Small Craft Warning criteria will be made uniform at 25 to 33 knots and seas greater than 10 feet. Hawaii has been much more complex in this criteria, much more so than other areas in the United States. Many mariners don’t really understand the current confusing criteria.
Comment was made that they may want to consider lowering the wind generated short wind wave height of 10 feet. That may be too high for a 12 foot whaler. It may not be possible to have standard criteria that is equally applicable to all types and sizes of vessels.
In addition they have gone from 2 zones to 13 zones in an effort to give greater resolution to the weather reports. Hopefully end users will go to the web and look at the coastal weather forecast for more detailed information.
Another change is moving from the current cautionary headlines for harbor surges and high surf are headlined in coastal water forecast. The proposal is to change this to a Marine Weather Statement for cautionary criteria.
Should we still use “small craft should exercise caution” in CWF? If this is removed from that vehicle they would no longer have a method for getting this information to end users such as the barge companies. After November 15 this information will only be on the website and the NOAA Marine weather radio. This may be very limiting to some end users. We will have this primarily only available on the internet.
Question: Are you going to be changing the high surf criteria. There are no plans to do this at this time. They would like to start issuing surf information for the neighbor islands but they currently don’t have the expertise to do this.
The graphic forecasts that we have told you about at earlier meetings is now on-line at www.weather.gov or www.prh.noaa.gov. These graphics are interactive. You can place your curser over a zone and it will give all the information you need from winds to swells. The website graphic view is near real time and State wide view. In the past we were putting out text product. This is graphically based but at the press of a button the text comes up.
MARINE RADIO FAX
The National Center that develops the information that is placed on the Marine Radio Fax wants to stop producing this product. Sea state information on the Marine Radio Fax goes out 24 hours. Many of the end users are in the South Pacific. One idea has been to the charts that are going away by placing the “high seas” text information out on the Marine Radio Fax. Most local boaters here seem to use the local and offshore waters.
GET THE DRIFT AND BAG IT
This year the “Get the Drift and Bag” campaign was held on September 18th, 2004 . There was an incredible amount of rubbish under the kiawe on the offshore islands in Keehi Lagoon.
This year there was an effort to not only increase the areas cleaned but also to involve HOST. Charlie Perez of P & R Water Taxi volunteered the water taxi “Hapa” In thanks for their terrific support in cleaning up the Keehi Lagoon area HOST presented a Public Service Commendation P&R Water Taxi.
In addition, Keahi Birch of Matson, operating in conjunction with Greg McCartney of A&B, picked up over eight tons of rubbish from the Keehi Lagoon boat launch area. In thanks for their help HOST will also be presenting them with a Public Service Commendation.
Robin asked if the State or the USCG had any announcements. Hearing none, the meeting was adjourned.