Boat Basin has new management team

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 7:15pm
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The new management team overseeing what will now be called the New Harbor Boat Basin is going to take things one step at a time.

That’s according to Colin Kane, principal of the Peregrine Group, LLC, out of Rumford, Rhode Island. Peregrine signed a lease to manage the property, which will still be owned by three members of the Mott family, for the next 20 years.

During an interview with The Block Island Times, Kane, and Chuck Moffitt, the general manager of the Newport Yachting Center, expressed both an awareness of the challenges existing at the properties — entrance and egress to the Boat Basin, parking issues (described by Kane as a “disaster’), taxi cab congestion — and the possibilities, but said that their goal for 2019 is to learn as much as they can about how the marina currently operates.

“Our goal is to get through the season,” said Kane, only partly in jest, but he added “There’s a lot we don’t understand yet.”

Peregrine will not manage The Oar, the bike shop, or the grocery store. “We’re going to operate the marina,” he said.

The day they visited The Block Island Times, Kane and Moffitt had also visited with Harbormaster Steve Land and Town Planner Allison Ring. They said they had hoped to introduce themselves to the community sooner, but were unable to do so before the property sale was finalized. The Mott family has owned the property since the 1700s, and the two said they were pleased that the three Mott brothers would continue to own the property. They also praised the Draper family for their stewardship of The Oar.

Kane said the group’s experience in operating a marina — they bought the Newport Yachting Center five years ago — made the Boat Basin a good fit.

Moffitt said his team will have an on-site presence, and that he expects to be here at least one day a week, and will oversee the opening and closing of the marina. Moffitt described what he called “subtle changes” to the marina: Deck hands will have uniforms, improved landscaping, removing the dumpsters on the beach. The team has already reached out to the Storm Trysail Club and the organizers of the annual fishing tournament because both events are happening this year.

“We’ll reset the tone of the place,” said Kane, adding “We hope to keep as many people there running the place in hospitality and service.”

The dinghy dock will not be closed, but the amount of space available for public use will be less than the full dock. It will be available on what Moffitt described as a “limited basis. It won’t be a free-for-all with six dinghies deep. It’ll support the on-premises businesses.” Moffitt said that activity at the dinghy dock will be monitored, but also said that the public need for space there may be less than what it once was due to the new dinghy dock located at Dead Eye Dick’s.

“Our job is to make it better,” said Kane. “That’s our goal.”

They also understood what is perhaps the biggest challenge: the length of the summer season.

“How do we make the 10 weeks really, really good,” Kane asked.

The answer to that question, he said, will come “only by working with the town.”

Moffitt said that reservations are now open for the 2019 summer season.

“There’s a lot of things that can be done to make New Harbor function better,” said Kane, listing the lack of a Harbormaster office on the Pond as one item that needed to be remedied. “Our goal is also not to change what works.”

More information, including contacts and reservations, can be found at newharborboatbasin.com.