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Inter Island Ferry Service

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Water travel makes sense in the Islands

Count us among those impatient to see the launching of an interisland ferry service, especially in light of the rising cost and inconvenience of flying.

It's time we reduced our dependence on the airline industry and introduced competition. So we're excited to hear about the upcoming opening of a $5 million ferry terminal in Honolulu Harbor. We just wish the ferry service wasn't so far behind. At this point, the e.t.a. for an interisland passenger and auto service is 2006.

That said, we're aware that previous intraisland ferry experiments flopped. But those efforts, it can be argued, were pulled before folks had time to adapt their commuting habits.

A better model is the San Juan Islands in Washington State, where commuting by ferry is affordable and offers breathtaking scenery as well as the leisure time to socialize or catch up on work projects or reading.

As for the economic benefits to Hawai'i, a ferry industry would provide jobs and allow people to commute to other islands for work. A case in point is sleepy Moloka'i, where a daily ferry service transports residents to jobs in West Maui.

Meanwhile, an intraisland ferry service running between Honolulu and West O'ahu ? if people would use it ? could dramatically decrease traffic congestion and pollution.

Sure, there'll be plenty of obstacles. But they'll be worth overcoming if we can create a viable ferry culture in Hawai'i.

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Ship plans stops on other islands


The Spirit of Ontario I arrived in Honolulu yesterday. The catamaran ferry is similar to the vessel Hawaii Superferry plans to use for daily passenger, car and freight service between O'ahu, Kaua'i, Maui and the Big Island starting in 2006.

KSSK 92.3 FM will give away tickets for a viewing of the Spirit of Ontario I Saturday evening in Honolulu. The ferry will then travel to Kaua'i, Maui and the Big Island for public viewings. Go to www.hawaiisuperferry.com for more information.

Hawaii Superferry said in January it plans to have the first of two new 900-passenger, 280-vehicle interisland ferries completed in 2006, with the second arriving in 2008. The high-speed ferries will be built in Alabama in a joint venture with Austal, an Australian firm specializing in designing and constructing passenger ferries.

The Hawai'i ships will be specifically designed and built for Hawai'i sea conditions, travel at speeds of up to 45 mph and be able to make the trip from Honolulu to Maui or Kaua'i in three hours.

Hawaii Superferry officials have said the cost of an interisland trip for a single passenger would be about half of what airlines charge.

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Is Hawaii Superferry a state or private agency?

We have a mix of state and private ferries in the northeast and it works quite well. With the islands' climate, a ferry is a no-brainer. Hell, we had 2 foot sea-ice this year and were struggling to keep service running, should be cake in Hawaii.

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as the channels are very dangerous because of the huge waves.

Sounds fun! Those catamarans are pretty good in rough seas. There's a highspeed one that runs between Maine and Nova Scotia, the seas can get pretty rough out there. We also have a small one (no autos) that runs from Providence to Newport in the summer, but it stays in the bay, so it doesn't deal much with rough seas (though it did crash into the hurricane barrier on it's maiden voyage last summer :rolleyes: )

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The Spirit of Ontario, which arrived in Honolulu Harbor on Wednesday on its way to Rochester, N.Y., offers a glimpse of the kind of ferry service Islanders may have in the future. The vessel features several areas where passengers can relax, have refreshments or watch movies.


The Spirit of Ontario 1 includes a first-class area plus two movie theaters, a business computing center and children's play area.


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