The Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor is located on the northwest coast of the island of Hawaii, immediately adjacent to the Kawaihae Deep Draft Harbor. The project was authorized under Section 301 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1965. The project was completed in July 1998 at a total cost of $8,742,000 (Federal: $7,859,000; non-Federal: $873,000).
The original Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor was excavated by high explosives under the Research and Development study, code name "Project Tugboat" by Nuclear Cratering Group. An entrance channel 830 feet long, 120 feet wide and 12 feet deep; a turning basin 200 feet long, 200 feet and 12 feet deep; and a west breakwater 883 feet long were constructed under "Project Tugboat."
Navigation improvements to the Kawaihae SBH Project retained the existing entrance channel and turning basin; extended the west breakwater with a 377-foot-long breakwater section for a total length of 1,260 feet; and a 780-foot-long east breakwater for 90 commercial small crafts. The local sponsor is the State of Hawaii.