A new charter boat dubbed the “New York Princess” has berthed at Pier 8 in Sheepshead Bay and another is expected to arrive shortly at Pier 2.
Peter Guoba’s “New York Princess” joins sister ship “Sheryll Princess” at Pier 8 and should begin operations this month.
Boat owner Tom Paladino’s “American Princess,” meanwhile, is scheduled to drop anchor on the vacant side of Pier 2 in May.
That’s all good news for those who enjoy partying out on the water, but others in Sheepshead Bay worry that the new vessels could negatively affect the neighborhood’s quality of life while at the same time do nothing to boost the local economy.
At last week’s 61st Precinct Community Council meeting held at Bainbridge Adult Health Care Center on Ocean Avenue, local fisherman Richie Arneman complained that charter boat patrons often spill out, inebriated, onto Emmons Avenue after late-night excursions.
“Some of these people [party boat guests] are armed,” Arneman said. “They’re bringing weapons to our neighborhood.”
A 28-year-old woman was stabbed aboard the Sheryll Princess two years ago in an altercation with a 39-year-old male patron.
Captain George Mastrokastas, commander of the 61st Precinct, located at 2675 Coney Island Avenue, says that patrols around the piers will be beefed up to ensure that there are no new incidents.
Both Guoba and Paladino have met with Community Board 15 Chair Theresa Scavo and City Councilmember Mike Nelson to talk about security concerns.
The new charter boats must be officially licensed in order to serve liquor.
Their debut brings bring the number of “event” boats docked at the Sheepshead Bay Piers to six.
The rest of the nautical fleet consists of 13 fishing boats, one sightseeing boat and one vessel specializing in diving excursions.
No other new applications for dock space have been filed, according to the Parks Department, which oversees the piers.
Bay Improvement Group (BIG) president Steve Barrison says that large party boats like the “New York Princess” and the “American Princess” are a “burden on the waterfront.”
“Dinner boats bring in thousands of people but they’re not spending their money at bait and tackle shops, and they’re not spending their money on dinner [at Sheepshead Bay restaurants],” Barrison said.
The Parks Department says that the rules governing Sheepshead Bay piers do not specify any number of fishing, diving, sightseeing or event boats.
“They’re going to bring in anybody that pays rent,” Barrison said.
—with Tom Tracy