Fire Island Ferries Resume Service to Ocean Beach

Fire Island ferries
Visitors to central Fire Island get there via ferry.

Fire Island Ferries resumed service to the Village of Ocean Beach on Sunday now that the two entities broke through an impasse that led to an unprecedented service suspension.

Village and ferry company officials announced Saturday that service would continue, although they did not release details of the contract deal that was reached about two weeks after the ferry company halted service to the village on March 8.

“We have a tentative agreement for two years,” Ocean Beach Mayor James Mallott said.

The ferry company had nixed service to the village after Ocean Beach officials insisted the company pay an annual rent increase to use its ferry terminal and the company demanded a reduction in terms, with neither side initially budging. As a result, the ferry company routed passengers to neighboring Seaview and freight cargo was being shipped to Ocean Bay Park. It’s believed to be the first time in 70 years that the company suspended service over a contract instead of the usual reason of the Great South Bay freezing over.

“We are very happy that an agreement has been reached with the village,” Mooney said. “We are looking forward to an early spring and a beautiful summer.”

The breakthrough came after the Ocean Beach Fire Department and some parents of students at the Woodhull School on Fire Island backed out of participating in the Bay Shore St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 12 in protest of the ferry company owner Timothy Mooney being the grand marshal.

During Saturday’s village board meeting, residents thanked village officials for negotiating the deal. The board also held a public hearing to consider granting a water taxi license to H20 Limo, Inc., a service that provides lateral boat rides to passengers from one Fire Island community to another on call instead of using a set schedule like the current Fire Island Water Taxi company run by Bay Shore-based Fire Island Ferries, Inc. 

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