Sea level rise – a submerged lands real estate boom in Hawaii?

Hawaii's current liveaboard boat communities, especially on floating pier designs, are a prototype for what we could be doing to adapt to the ever-increasing amount of real estate that will become submerged lands in the not-too-distant future

Top environmental scientists now confirm that sea levels are rising at a much faster rate than previously expected . . . it may be time for action


Top environmental scientists now confirm that sea levels around the world are rising at a much faster pace than what was originally projected. In a new report, spearheaded by NOAA (The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration), new calculations show that the amount of sea level rise expected by 2050 is the same amount the country has seen over the last 100 years.  In the not-to-distant future, Hawaii's coastline will be inundated and the limited habitable dry land that we now have will shrink even more.

Hawaii needs to get creative . . . there's not much time left 

The resulting seawater inundation of Hawaii's shoreline real estate does not have to be the doomsday Armageddon that some are predicting. In fact, with proper planning, a little thinking out of the box, some thoughtful design and rapid implementation, sea level rise could present some interesting possibilities for our future island community.

Ironically, it's the very same liveaboard boating community that Hawaii's state government has been trying to delete that may provide the prototype for new solutions to this unprecedented threat. Our harbors are publicly owned and can be accessed by all. Our current liveaboard boating communities, especially on floating pier designs, are a prototype for what we could be looking at in order to adapt to the ever-increasing submerged real estate -- and ever-shrinking dry real estate -- that is inevitable in the not too distant future.

Floating pier designs, now in use in some of Hawaii's liveaboard-permitted public harbors, have the ability to flexibly and safely adapt to fluctuating sea levels, including those from moderate tsunami wave action.  With some redesign, the floating pier concept could host whole communities of residential and small business opportunities.  This concept is nothing new; there are millions of people living on and working from boats around the world, including America's liveaboard communities in the Northwest, Midwest and on the East Coast.  Hawaii is an Island state; liveaboard communities are a natural fit.

As rising sea levels flood nearby coastlines, the use of water taxies, ferries and other personal commuter options make transportation to and from newly-relocated shoreline facilities convenient and practical.  All of this is already being done.  In the Anacortes, Washington region, and the nearby San Juan Islands, for example, liveaboard communities, water taxies, ferries and waterborne businesses of all kinds are a common sight.  This same scenario plays out in the Chesapeake Bay, on various lakes in our Midwest, and water-based communities around the world.

Given new sea level rise data, the DLNR in conjunction with Federal assistance, must act right now in commissioning these kinds of "out-of-the-box" community redesigns. The clock is ticking down and this is no time for politicians -- or DLNR Board members -- to be dragging their feet on getting this done.



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