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Fire Island's Sailors Haven marina to reopen after repairs, upgrades

Construction workers lay boards to complete the dock

Construction workers lay boards to complete the dock at Sailors Haven, the popular Fire Island marina, on July 22, 2015. Credit: Johnny Milano

The marina at Sailors Haven on Fire Island will reopen Friday after months of being closed for superstorm Sandy-related repairs and upgrades.

The popular spot has been off-limits to boaters this summer, although limited ferry service has been offered and concessions opened for business Friday.

The marina has 42 slips and on busy days as many as 250 boats anchor in the Great South Bay but use the marina to offload supplies and people.

All but eight slips will open Friday, said Elizabeth Rogers, a park ranger for the Fire Island National Seashore, which is part of the National Park Service.

New electrical service, pedestals for boats to hook up to and a strengthened substructure and decking were part of the $1 million project funded by the Federal Highway Administration.

"I think the boaters are going to be pleasantly surprised," Seashore facility manager James Dunphy said. "The entire electrical system that services the marina is brand-new. The walkway is all new . . . the sand barriers around the marina are brand-new."

During the closure, boaters were asked to use Watch Hill and Talisman/Barrett Beach. The only way to get to Sailors Haven was by using the Sayville Ferry Service or walking from Cherry Grove and Point O'Woods.

"The only visitors we have been getting is by ferry traffic and people coming in from the west and east," said Ken Stein, president of Sayville Ferry Service and Fire Island Concessions, which runs a gift shop and cafe at Sailors Haven. "If definitely wasn't a lot of people."

Fire Island Concessions, which also runs Watch Hill Marina and Camp Ground, lost half its 12 to 15 summer employees to other jobs and is now hiring halfway through the season.

"We tried to keep as much staff on as we could," Stein said. "That has been the most difficult thing."

The new marina is much improved, he said, especially since this past winter upended some pilings and caused ice damage.

"I am very, very happy for the Park Service and park visitors," Stein said. "For the next 20 years, they will have a beautiful season."

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