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Port to float guest reservation policy

KINGSTON — An issue that has troubled the Port of Kingston Board of Commissioners in the past was finally decided Wednesday night in hopes of better catering to those who moor at the agency’s guest docks during the summer.

While the port’s 49 guest dock slips are currently run on a first come, first served basis, the commissioners came to a consensus to allow their staff to implement a new guest dock reservation policy. Harbor Master Tom Berry suggested during the commissioners’ regular monthly meeting May 25 that about 25 of the slips should become reservable for the summer. He also presented several guidelines for the policy, which are subject to change:

• All guests wishing to reserve a guest dock slip must pay a non-refundable deposit of one night’s moorage at least three days prior to reservation date.

• Cancellations must be made at least three days prior to reservation date and guests will receive a voucher to be used within six months. Vouchers are non-transferable and cannot be used to make another reservation. Those who cancel a reservation without sufficient notice will not receive credit toward future moorage.

• Reservations may be made at the beginning of the calendar year for any time, including holidays.

• Reservations are available in the stalls designated by the Port of Kingston. Only designated reservable spots have in/out privileges.

• The Port can not protect against people who ignore the reserved flag after business hours. If there is a conflict, guests are to use another stall and the port staff will deal with the problem the following day.

Berry thought of initially doing reservations for just groups of 10 but realized that wouldn’t cater to the individuals who come to visit Kingston — such as a family coming through the Ballard Locks, only to spend gas and time to show up and find there aren’t any slips open.

Berry said he hopes to implement the new policy by middle of June. He also plans to stick with the policy that if permanent customers vacate their slips for the weekend and give the port permission to rent it out, the port will do so.

“We’re trying to accommodate as many people as we can,” Berry said. “If we run out of slips, we run out of slips.”

Commissioner Tom Coultas, who noted the issue has been discussed in the past with no real solutions, suggested starting the policy with just reserving 10 stalls, to get a feel for the public and how they would react to this new policy.

But Berry had seven calls alone on Wednesday from people who were trying to reserve a spot.

“It’s a difficult one — we know moorage is going to be taken,” he said.

“Even if we had 200 slips available, they’d be filled up,” DeBoer added. “I think we ought to give it a shot.”

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