Board Bids Controversial Fireboat Good-Bye

The controversial vessel will not be allowed to tie up at any village owned dock.

After months of controversy, the Greenport village board unanimously passed a resolution Monday night that will prevent the fireboat from ever again berthing at a village dock.

For months, some Greenport fishermen were fit to be tied over a fireboat that moved to the railroad dock.

Despite weeks of opposition from the public, the Greenport village board voted in July to move the fireboat that had been moored at Mitchell Park Marina over to the railroad dock.

Greenport fisherman Sid Smith said the fireboat would take up too much space on the dock, leaving little or no room for commercial vessels that have paid for dockage. 

In addition, the fireboat, Smith said, posed safety concerns. The boat, he said, was built in 1937 and has an aging hull and rivets.

It wasn't the first time the contentious Fireboat "Firefighter" museum had sparked fierce opposition in recent months.

During past village board meetings, Smith said under the terms of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan, commercial waterfront property should be the highest priority; the area is not meant for "tourists or museums."

The boat, he said, could block passage of the ferries.

Resident John Saladino said while he was indifferent about the fireboat, it didn't belong in the marina where the village could collect fees from the potential rental space.

Former Trustee and oyster farmer Michael Osinski raised questions about a business plan for the fireboat and asked when it was last hauled and inspected; the last time it was hauled that anyone knows of was ten years ago.

A representative of the North Ferry company said the boat could have posed safety concerns during high winds and present a "real threat to our navigation. We're imploring the board not to put it on that south face."

Steve Clarke, owner of the Greenport Yacht & Shipbuilding Company, welcomed any attraction that draws visitors but said the fireboat raised serious concerns.

William Swiskey sr January 28, 2014 at 05:43 PM
This is some village board we have. First anyone with any sense would never have agreed to let the underfunded fire boat here. Sid Smith was right. The village has seen this type of show before with bad results. In stead the mayor and a couple of trustees( we know who they are) said come on down. They then ran into trouble with the berthing arrangements at the RR. Dock (wonder why) and parked it at the marina where for a very low fee, it occupied space worth over $20,000 in the time it was there. The mayor then moved it to the RR. Dock where like it or not the lease allows it. The opinion of the county attorney would never hold up in court so they paid lip service to a certain trustee and tossed it back to the village. Now the very people who said come on down the mayor and buds are telling it to scram we don't want you. The only thing worse then letting it come here is the behavior of it's so called friends on the village board. These people are unreal and don't care who they end up screwing over. Be it the Fire FIghter or Electric Ratepayers
Clifford Harris January 28, 2014 at 10:09 PM
Well look at the end of the rail road dock now. That is no fishing vessel. WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE. It is an unfortunate situation that the boat is underfunded because I know of people who have come out to see the boat. I hope they can find a home for it and restore it.
John January 29, 2014 at 07:26 AM
Mr. Harris, you should understand the issue of the RR dock is not about the firefighter or fishing boats, it's about territoriality and control. Sid Smith, Mark and Mary Bess Phillips simply stated want the right to control of who they feel should be able to tie up at that dock. No one, I repeat no one believes it's about a lack of space for non existent fish boats that may show up in the future, or the perceived risk of the firefighter sinking because of a riveted hull it is strictly and solely about "turf". As it is stated in the article, I am indifferent toward the fireboat, but I do feel at some point people should start being honest about what the real issues are.
forward thinking January 29, 2014 at 01:16 PM
this fire boat if brought to a land "mooring" could be beneficial to increase income. I would bet riverhead would take it in a heart beat maybe put it on the Grumman site???. I agree with john and some of what ws.sr indicates. if some creative person can come up with a land situation I would think the funds could be gotten.


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