Boaters mourn the closure of 50-year-old Gravesend marina

marine basin marina
Closed: A 50-year-old Gravesend marina will close on April 1.
Photo by Meg Capone

A 50-year-old Gravesend marina will close in April, forcing more than than 200 yachtsmen to seek out a new port of call.

“It’s a hectic situation,” said Captain Max, who runs a company called Cruise NY that gives private tours of New York Harbor. “It’s short notice.”

Tenants at the Marine Basin Marina say they were given eight to 10 weeks to find a new spot for their boats, after the marina’s owners said they were selling the property in mid-January. Many boaters are now scrambling to find a new slip, and some say that the shortage of affordable, Brooklyn marinas makes the search difficult.  

“I found out a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve got to get it out by April 1st,” said Jim, a boat owner who didn’t give his last name. “It’s not their fault, but it’s gonna cost me a thousand dollars more to move my boat somewhere else.”

The Gagliano family — which has owned and operated the Marine Basin Marina for more than 50 years, according to the marina’s websitesold the marina and several adjacent properties in January to a real estate investment firm for $57.5 million. Insiders alleged that the new owners, FBE Limited, plan to build a strip mall and an Amazon warehouse on the site, but others dismissed the claims as rumors. 

Boaters say the marina’s closure marks a loss for Brooklyn, which houses only a few public marinas along the borough’s western shore. Some boat owners may be able to snag a spot at the neighboring Excelsior Yacht Club, but the lot is very small, forcing most tenants to travel to Marine Park, Sheepshead Bay, or over by the Brooklyn Bridge for a pricer slip. 

“It’s a huge loss for Brooklyn,” said a marina tenant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of his wife, who doesn’t know he owns a boat. “There’s a lot of guys who fish out of here, and it’s nice because you can be in the ocean very quickly, which is a huge bonus. And for sailors its a nice place, because it’s really deep and, again, ocean access.”