BLUF: You can utilize the Navy’s OPLIFT program to get your 2nd vehicle to/from Honolulu and San Diego for little to no cost!
After the excitement of getting that assignment to Hawaii wears off, many in the military start to realize that living in Hawaii is expensive. Once of those expenses is getting a second vehicle on island.
Most PCS orders only cover the cost to ship one vehicle but to most families, the second vehicle is an absolute necessity so usually its one of two choices:
- Sell their second vehicle and purchase or lease another vehicle one they get on island or…
- Ship their vehicle out of pocket
Both decisions has their draw backs and end up costing the military family a couple thousand dollars either through the overhead cost of selling then buying a vehicle twice, first when PCSing to Hawaii then PCSing from Hawaii; or paying to ship your 2nd vehicle for $1-$2k each way.
I personally believe leasing a cheap commuter vehicle is the ideal solution for PCSing to Hawaii. It allows you to get a vehicle as soon as you land in Hawaii, have a vehicle until your very last day before you PCS off the island, its pretty hard to bust the annual mileage allowance being you are stuck on an island, and its covered by a warranty. There are plenty of reliable Honda/Hyundai/Toyota/etc that you are able to lease for around $200 or less a month.
But if you want to take your second vehicle with you, the Navy’s Opportune Lift Program might be the ideal solution. Basically its the SPACE-A for POV vehicles. You can ship your vehicle between Honolulu and San Diego for little to no cost, and will get there in 7-10 days! If you recalled back in 2014, even primary vehicles took months to ship because contractor issues.
Who is Eligible?
- All active duty and retired members of the armed services, Active duty must be on Permanent Change of Duty orders.
- Separates, if separating from service, the application will only be valid until the member is separated from service. Severities must be separating under honorable conditions.
- Unmarried widows/widowers of retired service members.
- DOD civilian employees moving under permanent change of station orders.
What can be shipped?
- Passenger vehicles (POVs)
- Vehicles must be clean, have no more than ¼ tank of gas if to be craned onboard or 3/4 tank of gas if required by the ship (usually LHDs); must be in good running condition, and be free from leaks.
- NO personal items will be allowed in the vehicle at time of shipment (i.e., surfboards, coolers, house hold goods)
- Vehicles must be registered, have valid base decals, and current safety checks.
For shipping from Hawaii office contact the MIDPAC OPPORTUNE LIFT Manager at:
- Commercial : 808-473-3045
- Website: https://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrh/about/regional_departments/comnavsurfgru-midpac/opportune_lift_program.html
For shipping from San Diego office contact the OPPORTUNE LIFT Manager at:
- Commercial: 619-437-2991
- DSN: 577-2991
This is best to approach with the mindset and planning similar to when using SPACE-A, meaning:
- Create the biggest time window in which you can ship your car and call as soon as you know your window since it is first-come, first serve
- You’ll get 5-7 days notification prior to when a ship becomes available so plan to drive out to San Diego with little warning or prepare a Power of Attorney if you are lucky enough to have a trusted friend in the San Diego area.
- Make sure all your paperwork is up to date.
Has anyone taken advantage of OPLIFT? Any additional advice?