Hawaii Real Estate Resource


Hawaii Superferry Is Sunk


It has been announced that the Hawaii Superferry is suspending all operations immediately and laying off its employees this Friday.  Customers with reservations have been promised refunds.  Cancellation is not due to lack of business but rather a battle waged in the courts by Superferry opponents.  On Monday, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in favor of the opponents making continued operation not possible.

Opposing the Superferry were the Sierra Club, and an organization of residents concerned about a delayed Environmental Impact Statement.  It is my understanding that Hawaii State Senator, Gary Hosier supported their positon as well.

In favor of Superferry was Governor Lingle and many of the users including business owners using it to ship goods among the islands.  Business owners found the service to be more economical than shipping by air, especially given the availablity of ship power to run their refrigeration units.  Shipping will now go by air or where speed of delivery is not critical, by barge.  Residents traveling between the islands will need to rent cars at their destination instead of taking their own which will increase business at the rental car companies.

Superferry officials have not announced what they will do with the Alakai which was built especially for Hawaii interisland service.  Neither is it known how the state will recoup its investment in harbor infrastructure which was supposed to have been repaid by Superferry.  Employees will be seeking new jobs at an awkward time given Hawaii's high unemployment rate.

In August 2007, I posted a first-hand account of travel on the Superferry HERE.


 Search Kauai/Big Island | Search Maui | Email | About Me | Visit Website | Phone/Text (808) 651-4550Richard Dolbeare (RA)

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Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B)

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Comment balloon 18 commentsRichard T. Dolbeare • March 18 2009 08:57PM


Hi Richard - This is sad news.  There will be so many people affected by this.  Not only those who are losing their jobs, but also the many islanders who depended on this service.

Posted by Marlene Bridges, Laguna Homes|Laguna Condos|Laguna Real Estate (Village Real Estate Services, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Hey Richard...  I'm not a resident of Hawaii, but this news breaks my heart.  I was REALLY looking forward to utilizing the super-ferry on our next trip.  Bummer...

Posted by Randy Hooker, Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Queen Creek (Dreamcatcher Realty / Greater Phoenix Area) over 10 years ago

Once again the power of the few ruining it for the masses. You know these are also going to be the first people who complain when prices start to rise on goods and services though.


Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 10 years ago

Bummer is right!  Catchy title for your post though.  So, you are a Skype user?  I can't wait to figure it out.

Posted by Ann Allen Hoover, CDPE SRES ASP e-PRO Realtor - Homes for Sale - AL (RE/MAX Advantage South) over 10 years ago


I really miss the Hydro foil service we had in the seventies through the islands. I use to take my bike and visit the other islands. It was cheap, fast, and carried inter-island mail and small cargo. The super ferry has been rather pushed through and we know people don't want something pushed upon them...


Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority! (RE/MAX Northwest.) over 10 years ago

Hi All- Thanks for your comments.  The Superferry was the most divisive issue I've seen while living in Hawaii.  The majority of the Hawaii people wanted the Superferry as determined by Honolulu Star Bulletin polls.  The protestors were smaller in numbers but felt very strongly about their cause and acted accordingly.

I traveled on the Superferry on it's one and only voyage from Kauai to Oahu.  My account can be found HERE.



Posted by Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist (Keller Williams Realty Maui) over 10 years ago

Richard, I like your blog.  The layout looks nice and you've got some great content here. 

Posted by Brian Brumpton, Boise Idaho Real Estate (Keller Williams Boise) over 10 years ago

Thanks for your comments Brian.  I noted that you are with Keller Williams which has gotten my attention through contacts on here.  We have a franchise here on Maui.

Posted by Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist (Keller Williams Realty Maui) over 10 years ago

Wow. That's a stunner and a bummer.

Posted by Will Nesbitt, Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage. (Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria) over 10 years ago

Richard, Hate to hear that there will no longer be a Super Ferry. I am sure that this will have a great impact on many individuals.

Posted by Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) over 10 years ago

Hi Will & Sandy- The Superferry was promoted for years and most looked forward to it.  I believe small business is most impacted as it made it easy for them to carry goods from one island to another on their trucks.  Unfortunately, this means that goods must now travel by air which not only increases cost but also is less environmentally friendly due to a higher fuel burn rate.

Posted by Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist (Keller Williams Realty Maui) over 10 years ago

Hi Richard:


I'm actually very happy that the Super Ferry won't be coming to Kauai. It would have a devastating affect on our natural resources. Even though it's not allowed Maui was having issues with people trying to get their coolers on with fish, opihi and other delicacies. I was also worried that thieves would may day trips to the islands and pack it on their pick up trucks. No pity here. That's what happens when you try and circumvent the law, (Lack of a EIS).


By the way how did the showing of my listing on Koali go?


Posted by Julie A. Black, CLHMS, CRS, GRI, Realtor, Broker (KAUAI DREAMS REALTY Kauai Real Property Specialist) over 10 years ago

Hi Julie- Do you think the EIS was the real issue or was that a smokescreen?  As I understand the process, an EIS is required when public facilities are used.  From what I've seen (and heard), I'm not convinced the use of public facilities and associated EIS was the real issue.

Posted by Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist (Keller Williams Realty Maui) over 10 years ago

If it's anything at all like the ferries in Seattle, I'm going to miss it and I haven't even been on it.

Posted by Jim Frimmer, Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist (HomeSmart Realty West) about 10 years ago

Richard It sounds like this will be a big lost for many. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) about 10 years ago

I do think the EIS was a major reason and concern. I would love to have the Superferry if I thought there was a way that it wouldn't negatively impact our environment, resources and crime rate.

Posted by Julie A. Black, CLHMS, CRS, GRI, Realtor, Broker (KAUAI DREAMS REALTY Kauai Real Property Specialist) about 10 years ago

Jim- And I haven't been on the Seattle ferry.  I do have a niece who's husband takes his bicycle on the ferry from Bainbridge Island and then peddles to work and he loves it.  I think I have my geography right.

Jennifer- Thanks for commenting and best wishes

Julie- I've learned that it doesn't always pay to take things at face value and thus the doubts that I expressed.  Do you think that the objections will dissolve once the ferry installs the new loading ramps so that use of public facilities requiring an EIS is no longer necessary? 

Posted by Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist (Keller Williams Realty Maui) about 10 years ago

Richard - This story has gotten some play in the national media.  To read you're account I feel bad for the citizens of Hawaii who apparently footed the bill for the venture through their tax dollars and supported the project and now find themselves stripped of very useful service which sounds like it might have a pretty substantial economic impact.

Posted by Jason Sanders about 10 years ago

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