Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Mala Wharf in Maui

Maui scuba diving site called Mala Wharf, seen from the ocean's surface.

Best Scuba Dive in Maui

Mala Wharf in Maui is the best shore diving site that Hawaii offers. But this dive site only got that way when it collided with Hurricane Iniki in 1992. Maui is home to some great dive sites, but few offer a history like this former commercial and military harbor.

The dive site offers adventure for every scuba diving skill level, and it’s excellent for snorkelers too. Ask us about this spot if you are ready to see the resident White Tip Reef Sharks and Hawaiian Green Turtles. The location is off Maui’s beaten tourist path, yet easy to find because it sits immediately south of the concrete canal next to the Lahaina Cannery Mall. As you drive towards the boat ramp, you will see restrooms and showers on the left side.

In 1922 the old concrete pier was built with steel reinforcements to disembark passengers and load goods from steamships. But, shortly after being constructed, these companies found Mala Wharf to be entirely inadequate for the job of servicing large steamships! This error was not the end of Mala Wharf, as smaller vessels used the sturdy structure to shuttle passengers, pineapples, and agricultural freight. At its height, Mala Wharf served a couple of essential functions in Lahaina. It became a small harbor for whale hunters, and during World War Two was used by soldiers on their way to and from leave in Lahaina town.

Hurricane Iniki forever changed everything about Mala Wharf. The hurricane wrought tremendous havoc around Maui, with winds peaking at 150 mph. The resulting destruction spelled the end for Mala Wharf’s commercial use in Lahaina. Strong waves, 30-foot surf, and powerful gusts sent Mala Wharf to the sandy bottom. The collapsed concrete pilings now act as an artificial reef where sharks, turtles, and colorful fish thrive.

You can arrange a scuba diving tour with Banyan Tree Divers Maui to hang out with these incredible underwater animals. Together let’s see what has become of Mala Wharf while marveling at some of Maui’s most colorful corals and fish in Hawaii. Not to mention finding the elusive frogfish!

Ask any local, and they will assure you that Mala Wharf on Maui offers the best scuba diving on the island. You can get to the dive site by boat, but you do not need a boat. Mala Wharf is famous for shore diving. Here divers park in the public lot and head to the beach on the left. To enter, you will walk along the south side of the pier, keeping as close to the structure as possible. Unless it’s raining and the adjacent river produces substantial runoff, you can safely enter the water at the beach to the left of the pier and then kick out to the dive site. Once you are near the end of the existing jetty, be sure to look out for boat traffic. There are often numerous vessels looking for a mooring with the same idea as you. Mala Wharf is immediately south of the bridge at Lahaina Cannery Mall. Downward from the boat ramp, you will find restrooms and showers.

The Hawaiian islands are undoubtedly an enchanted place on Earth. In Hawaii, you will find active volcanoes, snow-capped mountain peaks, and an underwater playground that will forever live on in your dreams. So when you are ready for the best scuba diving in Maui, give our Lahaina dive shop a call (808) 446-6099.