By Kirsten Corssen
You can’t go out to dinner at 7 p.m. on a lovely Saturday night and expect to get seated right away if you don’t have a reservation. Just like you can’t pull up to Atlantique on the Fourth of July and expect a slip to be open, or can you? Well, two summers ago the Town of Islip implemented an optional reservation system for the marina, letting people secure a spot for their boat.
First, let’s dive into how the system works. To receive a slip you must book two weeks in advance online. As stated on the Town of Islip website, “Online reservations are available in one-week increments only. Reservations will not be accepted for two consecutive weeks. Those wishing to reserve more than one week can do so provided the reservation periods are not consecutive.”
This reservation system only is for 10 B slips; a B slip is a docking spot that fits an 11- to 14-foot beam. Any A (larger beams) or C slips (smaller slips) cannot be reserved ahead of time. The reservation system is effective during the peak holiday demand, but less utilized during regular season usage.
After speaking to residents around the marina, it was interesting to see what people really think about the reservation system. Jim and Diana Hetzer on their boat “Irene Sea” didn’t even know much about it. They claimed to have looked it up once but it seemed confusing. “With work, weather, events on the mainland, it is hard for us to plan two weeks out when we will be coming to the beach,” says Jim. They worry if they pay ahead and don’t make it there it will be a waste. Although they may not use the reservation system, they believe it might be a good fit for them in the future because of the flexibility it would give them. They would not need to be glued to a slip, and it could provide them with the freedom to leave for an hour or two to go for a boat ride and come back to their original slip.
Down the dock we found Jackie and Tom on their boat “Seas the Moment.” This delightful couple has been coming to Atlantique for more than 20 years and they love their little slice of heaven. They seem to be open to the reservation system, but it is not a good fit for them yet. “The system seems like a good idea, but it is not perfected yet,” says Tom. “I like the freedom to come and go as I please, especially with my high demanding job.” Tom did say he appreciated aspects of the service however. “It seems to be a perfect fit for people who are planners and need to know they will have a slip when they come over for their summer vacation.”
It seems as if the reservation system really depends on the person and their schedules. This was not the case for Barry and Maureen Greenberry on the boat “Winter’s Dream” because they found the Dockwa app that is used at Sailor’s Haven for reservations to be pretty convenient. “What is appealing about the reservation service is the fact that I could leave my slip then come back to it later in the day,” says Barry. “Living over in Bellport it is hard for my family to get a ride to the Bay Shore ferry, and having a reserved slip for the day would let me take the boat over to pick up my family, and have that security that my slip is waiting for me.” This reservation service could really give boaters that freedom they want at the marina.
A few more steps down the dock we found Lisa Holmes who was one of two boats this particular week that had made a reservation. She needs that security of having a slip waiting for her. “It takes the worry out of getting to the marina and finding no available slips,” says Lisa. “The only criticism I have would be the fact that I could not pick my slip. I wanted to be on the west wall, but the reservation service gave me one on the east wall.”
General consensus seems to be that boaters would be receptive to the reservation service for Atlantique Marina if it were better organized. Perhaps Town of Islip can consider the advantages of Dockwa for Atlantique. Who knows what next summer will bring?