Sag Harbor Village’s harbors and docks have seen a growth in revenues this season, while enforcement of basic waterfront laws has also increased under the leadership of Harbor Master Bob Bori, hired last year by the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees after the resignation of Ed Swenson last October.
According to village records, revenues for the month of July are up some $30,000, from $32,317.90 in 2009 to $62,339.75 this year. While revenues for the month of August are still being collected as the village nears the end of its summer boating season, year-to-date figures show revenues from the village docks are $550,094.85, up from last year’s total of $483,506.65.
Bori, born and raised in Sag Harbor, is a retired Southampton Town Police officer, and said this week that his background in law enforcement coupled with his innate understanding of the waterfront made the job attractive when it was advertised by the village last fall.
“It was a natural fit,” he said.
According to Bori, one of the more significant changes made to the dock system in the village is allowing boaters to reserve in Sag Harbor’s transient slips — a new feature this year. In years past, said Bori, boaters would roll the dice, come into Sag Harbor with the hopes of being able to gain access to a slip never knowing if one would be available. This year, he said, boaters have been able to plan their trip to the village with certainty, which has led to the increase in dock revenues.
“We are seeing a lot of families and retired folks,” said Bori. “It’s been a pleasure for people to know they can make a reservation. In years past, they would come in and not be able to get a slip. We are seeing a more recreational waterfront this year.”
The village also allowed luxury yachts to dock on the west side of Long Wharf during holiday weekends this year, which added to the increase in revenue over last year’s figures. Last year, dockage on the north end and west side of Long Wharf were restricted in an effort to provide residents with greater access to the waterfront, with just the east side open for dockage.
Bori has also made a practice of monitoring which vessels are using the town pump out boats to get rid of their wastewater, a monitoring program that enables the harbor master the ability to know which boats should be checked to ensure they are not dumping sewage into Sag Harbor waters.
Last month, amid complaints about sewage being dumped by boats into the harbor, Bori worked with the town pump out boat operators and local marinas to ensure boaters are using the free town service.
“The town offers two pump out boats, one here and one in Noyac, and it is a free of charge service,” said Bori. “Most people take advantage of it.”
Following the complaints and using the pump out boat operator logs, Bori did board two vessels for inspection, he said, but found they were clean.
“It could have been someone who was here overnight,” he said. “As of the last few weeks we have had no issues with sewage in the water, so hopefully that problem has passed.”
Otherwise, said Bori, it has been a fairly uneventful season with just a few incidents of boats breaking down and needing assistance. He does take issue with the non-regulated mooring field that has popped up this summer east of the breakwater and outside of the village’s jurisdiction.
“There should be, from a safety standpoint, something where somebody has the jurisdiction to make sure it is all safe,” he said. “But the main guys putting moorings out there are professionals. It’s the arbitrary ones we have to be concerned about.”
Next year, Bori said he plans to develop a long term maintenance plan for the village’s docks, including Long Wharf, and the possible expansion of the transient docks after this season’s success with the reservation system.
“Bob has been great,” said deputy mayor Tim Culver, who was the village board’s liaison to the harbor master until this July. “Revenues are up and so is compliance.”