Fire Island property owners will be allowed to take ferries this week for four-hour trips to inspect the damage done by Superstorm Sandy—a first for most homeowners after year-round residents only were given brief access last week.
The ferries will leave the Bay Shore terminal at 10:10 a.m. Wednesday through Friday with two more boats scheduled for Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and 11:10 a.m. The ferries will stop at Kismet, Saltaire, Fair Harbor, Ocean Breach, Seaview and Ocean Bay Park—all on the west end of the island.
“Fire and emergency service teams along with contractors, plumbers, electricians and inspectors have improved conditions to the point where limited and temporary access is appropriate for homeowners and year round residents,” Islip Supervisor Tom Croci said.
Islip facilities at Atlantique Beach and Marina remain off limits to the public, he added. Visitors will only be allowed to travel via ferry as Suffolk County police have threatened to arrest boaters who try to dock on the barrier beach.
Those who plan to board the ferry will be asked to supply personal identification and proof of property ownership—a tax or LIPA bill. Law enforcement will be on hand to ensure no residents try to spend the night.
No carts or wagons will be allowed, Fire Island Ferries said in a statement on their website. There is also a two-bag limit for those looking to gather belongings. A tentatively planned Sunday boat was nixed.
Ocean beach Mayor James Mallott said residents should dress appropriately, not bring children younger than 16 and pack a lunch since none of the restaurants are open.
He also suggested bringing a flashlight since power is still being restored on the island and urged residents not to start bringing debris to the curb since garbage collection has yet to resume.
At least 12 houses were swept away, most others were flooded or damaged and the island was breached in two places—at Smith Point County Park and near Water Island, a reclusive community between Fire Island Pines and Davis Park.
More than 100 people ignored the mandatory evacuation order and rode out the storm. Some had to be rescued when they became stranded after Sandy. Others who stayed behind were local emergency personnel who’ve been cleaning up.
“No one was prepared for this,” Mallott told a crowd of about 1,000 Fire Islanders at an emergency Ocean Beach Association meeting Saturday night in Manhattan. “No one.”