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Bay constable wants changes to boat storage

Bay Constable Peter Vielbig and Shelter Island Police have been working on changes affecting rules and regulation of vessel storage on town properties.

Mr. Vielbig presented a proposal at Tuesday’s Town Board work session for changes affecting boat storage.

A law aimed at how boats are to be stored at town landings and the necessity to have them labeled so owners can be reached if necessary, has worked fairly well, Mr. Vielbig said. This year, there were 280 town permits issued by the town.

But the demand for storage spaces at some town landings — particularly Wades Beach, Silver Beach and Burns Road — has created problems, he said.

The changes are being proposed to alleviate overcrowding and boats being piled up “helter-skelter,” Mr. Vielbig said.

The result has been lost or stolen boats, overcrowding and encroachment on nearby private properties.

The proposals for changes identify boat types based on their sizes and requires they carry owner identification and are well secured on the shore. That’s to prevent a boat from drifting into the water that could signal a lost boater for whom a search must be conducted.

The proposed changes were written after consultation with members of the town’s Waterways Management Advisory Council and boat owners, Mr. Vielbig said.

Proposed changes include:

• Wooden storage units are to be provided where feasible and no boats can be stored outside designated areas.

• A fee schedule would cost boaters $50 a season for a permit for a small boat or $100 for a multi-hulled boat.

The current law allows for a fee, but doesn’t designate an amount other than to refer to fees being set by the Town Board.

• A requirement that all boats be removed from town landings between Dec. 1 and March 31. Vessels still on town land during that period can be claimed by the town and sold at public auctions.

• A requirement that no over-the-road or licensed boat trailers can be stored at town landings for more than 24 consecutive hours.

• Every stored boat must carry a town issued identification sticker

• Allow police to take action they deem necessary at any given time to control boat storage to avoid vessels being scattered in areas where there isn’t sufficient room for them.

In proposing the changes, Mr. Vielbig noted that Southold and Southampton prohibit any boat storage on town-owned property and East Hampton highly regulates such storage, charging $200 for a permit to store vessels on town-owned land.

Police Chief Jim Read asked the Town Board to hold off for a week before moving the changes forward, suggesting there may be more tweaks to the proposed changes.