By Laura Schmidt ~ Atlantique Marina has officially been under new ownership since March and long-time boaters are already seeing a difference in maintenance, slip prices and more.
Strong’s Marina & Water Club and Al Grovers High & Dry Marina have joined forces and have leased Atlantique operations after the Town of Islip unexpectedly relinquished control last summer.
After initial shock and apprehension from boaters concerned with slip price markups, a new docking reservation system and non-Islip residents accessing the marina, the new manager of Atlantique, Sean Ryan of Strong’s & Grovers, has done well to assure boaters that the marina will remain a family-friendly place for generations to come.
“We don’t want to push anybody out of here,” Ryan said. “We don’t want to change the atmosphere too much but we do want to improve the quality of people’s experience here and that does come at a little bit higher of a price.”
Despite being awarded the contract mere months before boating season, management has already sat down with boaters to answer questions, installed sufficient WiFi for the entire marina, fixed electrical panels and broken poles, and has put in permit requests to replace the bulkhead and begin rebuilding infrastructure.
Avid boater Bob Smith said he had lost hope in the Town of Islip’s ability to maintain the marina and is optimistic that the new owners will keep their word and make real changes.
“The least [Town of Islip] could do to get by is what the Town did and it shows,” Smith said. “The Town is incompetent and you can see that right now with the new people who are running it, just how well they’re running it. They’re getting things fixed.”
While Atlantique used to be a first-come, first-served marina, boaters are now required to make online reservations prior to arrival. Initially, what came as an unwelcome burden has now taken the stress out of planning vacations. Boaters can now even request a specific slip, if available, which has pleased regulars.
While it seems boaters are warming up to new ownership and are hopeful for the future, it is not without trepidation.
“If they keep what they’re scheduled for improving infrastructure, they’ll do a fantastic job,” Smith said. “You can’t rely on promises.”
Ryan expressed how he and the Strong’s & Grovers family are boaters themselves and understand how much this marina means to so many generations of families.
“Overall, our main goal and vision for Atlantique is just to improve a place that is already beautiful on its own, to improve the quality of everybody’s experience here and to just provide a better value and opportunity for all to enjoy this gem on the Great South Bay,” Ryan said.
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