The Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor (SBH) is located on the northwest coast of the island of Hawai’i, immediately adjacent to the Kawaihae Deep Draft Harbor. The Kawaihae SBH project was authorized under Section 301 of the River and Harbor Act of 1965. The non-Federal sponsor is the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, Department of Land and Natural Resources, State of Hawai’i (DOBOR). The project is in the operations and maintenance phase.
The construction was completed in 1998. The total project cost was $8,742,000 (Federal: $7,859,000; non-Federal: $873,000). An entrance channel 560 feet long, 120 feet wide, and 12 feet deep; a turning basin 200 feet long by 200 feet wide and 12 feet deep; and a breakwater 850 feet long were originally constructed. The current project retained the existing main access channel and turning basin; but extended the west breakwater for a total distance of 1260 feet; and provided an east breakwater with a total length of 780 feet. Under a reimbursable tasking from DOBOR, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed a master plan for the berthing and associated facilities, including a development of shoreside facilities in January 2004. In 2014, DOBOR constructed floating docks, comfort station, and moorings for commercial crafts. Follow-on phases by DOBOR are expected to include 125 boat slips, larger water pipes, improved access road, and a new launch ramp.
The town of Kawaihae is a port community which features a few restaurants and art galleries. There is a popular surf spot, the Pua Ka`ilima Cultural Surf Park, located just outside of the harbor breakwater.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for maintaining breakwater structures and authorized project depths in the channel and turning basin area. DOBOR is responsible for maintaining depths in berthing and mooring areas, which are outside the Federal limits.