Hawai'i State News

Owner of grounded luxury yacht in a Maui bay will get $460,000 plus salvage bill

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Fuel was removed from a grounded luxury yacht in Honolua Bay on Maui. Photo Credit: Hawai’i State Department of Land and Natural Resources

Jim Jones, owner of the 94-foot-luxury yacht “Nakoa” that grounded in Honolua Bay on Maui, will be getting one big bill from the state for the salvage costs.

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Land and Natural Resources said it has hired Visionary Marine of Honolulu to do the salvage operations. They had the cheapest bid, as well as the ability to start the operation the quickest.

“The state will bill the yacht’s owner for reimbursement of the $460,000 salvage cost, and for additional staff and administrative costs, and take legal action if necessary,” according to a press release from the Department of Land and Natural Resources.


It was an expensive mistake for not knowing the rules.

The yacht was just outside the the Honolua-Mokulē‘ia Bay Marine Life Conservation District. Although the area has day-use moorings with a time limit of two hours, Jones told media that he didn’t know the rules and stayed overnight with his family when one of the lines snapped and the boat hit the rocks.

On Saturday, work will continue to remove fuel, other pollutants and batteries.


The state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Maui Police Department will maintain the closure of the Līpoa Point dirt road tomorrow for continued helicopter operations. The road is expected to reopen as soon as the defueling process is completed.

The Coast Guard federalized the vessel, meaning it has jurisdiction over the yacht which cannot be moved until all potentially dangerous materials on board are removed. As soon as the process to remove fuel, hazardous materials and batteries is complete, the Coast Guard will turn over control of the vessel to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The state department will take control of the vessel because the yacht owner is unable to contract and pay for the removal of the vessel.


After completing its investigation, the Department of Land and Natural Resources may impose fines for any violations, and also will seek to work with the community to heal and restore the coral and bay and deter any recurrence. 

“The grounding at Honolua Bay and harm to the reef that it caused is felt deeply by those connected to the special area of Honolua,  Mokulē‘ia and Līpoa,” said DLNR Chairperson Dawn Chang. “DLNR’s duty is to conserve the natural and cultural resources of Hawaiʻi, so when the owner of a grounded vessel refuses to pay for removal, and the vessel poses a continued risk to natural and cultural resources, we must step up and contract for the removal ourselves. Our natural and cultural resources come first.” 

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