The Mala Boat Ramp is the place to go when you want to launch your watercraft off the coast of West Maui. Since it’s located right next to the Mala Historic Wharf, it’s also a popular spot to meet your tour guides. When you sign up for a dolphin tour, fishing charter, or any other adventure with companies near Lahaina, they’re likely to send you to the docks right alongside the ramp. Want to go on your own scuba diving adventures? You’re welcome to do that, too.
There’s no charge for using the boat ramp or even parking onsite. You may have trouble finding an open parking spot though, especially on the weekends in the summer months. Unless you’re bringing your watercraft on a trailer, you need to avoid parking in the long middle stalls. Instead, park on the left and right sides of the lot wherever you can find a spot.
If you are using the boat ramp, you will likely need to line up for your turn to back your trailer down into the water. People queue up in line all day long to launch and retrieve their boats, jet skis, and other vessels. So, just sit in line with your vehicle and be prepared to wait it out. While you wait, look at how the other visitors use the ramp to the best of their ability. As you get closer to the ramp, decide which docks you’ll use to secure your boat for boarding. Then, launch your watercraft, securely tie it to the dock, and then find a parking spot for your truck and trailer.
When meeting tour guides at this spot, just park your car, lock it up tight, and then look for their signs. They usually set up a small sign that states the name of their company and the selected tour. You will just need to go right up to them to check in and learn about what to expect on your tour. Once everyone is ready to go, they’ll pull the vessel up to the dock and load up all their passengers. You’ll come back to the same dock at the end of the tour, allowing you to easily load back up and jet off for even more island adventures.
With all the coral reefs right next door, this boat ramp is a key spot to kick off all your scuba diving adventures. For your safety, don’t enter the water at the ramp. Instead, look northward for a teeny tiny beach as your perfect shallow entry point. Watch for boats nearby and then dip into the water at your leisure. You’ll want to head north until you reach the reef and then swim along the beach to explore all its nooks and crannies. You’re bound to encounter sea turtles, sharks, eels, and more as you gently kick through the water.
If nothing else, this is a wonderful spot to take in the beautiful views of the oceanside. The views get even better if you head south past the wharf to Mala Beach. Plan your visit for the sunset hour to watch the sky light up in vivid hues and perfectly frame all the waves lapping against the shore. Just be mindful of the Puupiha Cemetery located right behind the beach. You’re welcome to quietly take a look if you’d like to pay your respects. Otherwise, it’s best to stay out and enjoy all the beach has to offer.
Need restrooms during your visit? They’re located right by the parking area. During the busy months, they’re not always well tended. So, bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer if you want to be sure you’ll have all you need.
– Houseless individuals often set up camp in the open area north of the parking lot. So, don’t be surprised to see tents in that area when you arrive.
– Stay at least 10 feet from the sea turtles. They are a protected marine species. Getting too close could disturb their normal activities and earn you a hefty fine.