Maui may not be the same as Kona but I'll give you the skinny for Kailua Bay on the Kona Coast. You can anchor
here but the State issues mooring
permits as well. Don't know how long they will let you stay at anchor
before they try and get you on a mooring
. You have to put the mooring down at your expense and remove when you give it up. It's a fairly good row to shore, a bit rolly and, of course, no amenities other than a public bathroom on the pier. The pier gives you a place to tie up your dinghy
and relatively easy access to shore. Kona has very few beaches so a landing at the pier in Kailua Town or Keauhou Bay are the only two reasonably safe shore accesses. Living aboard
is very much a cruising type of lifestyle. No power, running water
, sanitation, showers, etc. The anchorage, though one of the best in the islands, is quite rolly even when the ocean is relatively flat. Found it the rolliest anchorage, ever, after a year cruising in French Polynesia
The Ka'anpali Coast on Maui is a lot more hospitable to dinghys with long stretches of beach. Have seen a couple of dinghies pulled up on the beach while strolling there. Lahaina Harbor has a bathroom but doubt much more. There are always a few boats anchored offshore
. Some have obviously been there a long time. Don't know whether the state enforces any anchoring
restrictions or mooring requirements but would assume they do.
Both the Ka'anapali and Kona Coast are open roadsteds. They are reasonably comfortable for most of the summer but can get very rolly when the occasional South Swell happen. In the winter, the waves that make Hawaii
surfing famous come rolling in. Even though both coasts are facing away from these swells, things can get extremely interesting. We typically lose a boat and sometimes 2 or 3 a year that are on the moorings. You cannot safely leave a boat unattended as we get 10' and even larger rollers in the anchorage/mooring area. The motion of the boats can chew through mooring lines in a very short time. We had one spell of bad weather
when we first got here. Had to swim out to the boat, cause it was too rough to row a dinghy
, and change/adjust the lines on a twice daily basis. The lines were showing significant wear after a few hours and regularly wore through the chafing gear
. We moved the boat to the AlaWai boat harbor as soon as the weather
calmed down. Fortunately our name came up for a slip there at the same time. Don't know what we would have done if that hadn't happened cause it was so nerve wracking to have the boat sitting in the bay. Now you can haul the boat and leave it in dry storage
at Honokohau Harbor. That ends any chance of liveaboard
AFAIK, know all the State Harbors in Hawaii
are full and have long waiting lists. You are allowed to stay in a harbor for a month as a transient. You'd have to be on the boat and ready to move the boat on short notice as you'd be bouncing from slip to slip as boats go in and out. Lahaina Harbor probably has no hope of even getting a temp. space. Too small and too commercial
. Ma'alaea Harbor is extremely windy, 15-30 mph winds most of the time, and a rundown, inhospitable place catering to the dive boats that go out to Molokini Island. It's also a bit far away from anything so a good bicycle, at minimum, or a car would be a necessity.
in Hawaii is a challenge. It took me 7 years to get a liveaboard slip
in the AlaWai many years ago. Got a slip in Honokohau Harbor cause we were here when they doubled the size of the harbor. Unfortunately, gave both slips up as we were boatless and into shoreside things like raising our kids
. The waiting list for a slip is probably approaching a decade now. Keehi Lagoon
has moorings and may have some slips if the State ever fixes them. It's a miserable place to live, however, as it's under the flight path for the main runway at the airport
and in the middle of an industrial area. Drugs, theft and assault are reported to be very prevalent. La Mariana boat club is an exception in the area but reported to have a waiting list and may not allow liveaboards. Kaneohe Bay on the windward side of Oahu
may have some possibilities for long term anchoring
and slip availability. Ko'olina in Leeward Oahu is a lovely marina but tres cher. Slip fees
were approaching $20 a foot/month when I last checked.
So, good luck living aboard in Hawaii.