Boat Basin's Sunrise - Detail | Sayville, New York

© Sophie W. Smith

Joined October 2012

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The two basins which comprise the boatyard are known as Greene Harbor in the West and Ockers Basin in the East.

In the late 1800’s the West Basin, Greene Harbor, was no more than a large pier at the end of West Avenue which offered limited protection from the prevailing South-West wind. At that time several oystermen were operating their businesses in Oakdale on land leased from the owner, Colonel William Ludlow, whose wife was a heir to the Nicholl Estate. She was a direct descendent of William Nicholl, one of the original patent holders on what would become the Town of Islip. The oystermen’s buildings were located just West of “Dutchman’s Gap”, the mouth of Indian Creek, which used to enter the bay East of Greene’s Point.

The oystermen lost their leases when Fredrick Bourne began to purchase the land from Ludlow to build his Indian Neck Estate. Although the sale of the last piece of property occured in 1897, some of the oystermen retained the use of the property for a further ten years as stipulated in the sale.

Realizing their long tenure in Oakdale was drawing to a close, these relocated oystermen had the foresight to see that West Sayville’s prime bay front location was perfect for sloops to access the rich oyster beds of the bay. They purchased land in the harbor area from Samuel Greene and began to plan to enclose the harbor area with a basin. The South and East walls of the inner basin dock were built in the Summer of 1902 by a partnership consisting of the Westerbeke Brothers, Jacob and Fredrick Ockers, John VanWyne, and William Rudolph. The entrance to the bay was at the Tiki hut area. Their oyster houses are the buildings fronting the North side of the inner harbor. The original building on the South Yard property housed a pound-net fishery run by the Schaper family. The building was later removed and floated down Greene’s Creek where it is now a law office on Montauk Highway. Later the South yard beach, located at the West basin, had a pavilion that was built by the Methodist Church around 1920. For many years after it was known as the “West Sayville Beach”

The West basin was converted to a Navy base during World War I, from 1917 to 1919. The Station was designated Section Base #5, and nicknamed the “Splinter Fleet”. Consisting of wooden vessels donated by local wealthy family’s, it’s purpose was to prevent the running of supplies to enemy submarines, plus general observation and police duty. The mines were a real threat, as seen when the men of the base were called to assist in the rescue of the crew of the U.S.S. San Diego when it struck a mine and sank off Point O’ Woods in 1918. Read more

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