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Planning a class trip? Consider the Fire Island breach

Update: Village will use town-hired lifeguards at Ho-Hum

Bellport Village is offering up its ferry to schools looking to explore the Breach at Old Inlet from the village’s Ho-Hum Beach on Fire Island.

That would allow science students to visit the breach from its western side, which naturalists say is much safer for visitors than the cutting edges of the eastern side.

Bellport Mayor Ray Fell made the announcement at Monday night’s Village Board meeting.

“They will utilize our ferry for $525 for four hours,” he said. “They’ll be on a field trip. They’ll go over, walk down to the inlet and come back and do whatever the biology classes ask them to do on that trip.”

Ho-Hum Beach will now be listed in the BOCES’ list of field trips open to Long Island districts.

“This is another opportunity for revenues for the village,” Fell said. “Of course, our ferry will be coming out of the water shortly. But we’re hoping in the spring the ferry will be used often to take school children to the beach and down to the inlet.”

Fell said the village hopes to run 10 to 15 trips in the spring and a handful in the fall. The school trips wouldn’t run during the peak summer months.

Typically the ferry is only open to village residents and their guests.

Interest in the inlet, which is about a 40-minute walk from Ho-Hum Beach, has begun to build among biologists and environmentalists looking to better explore the breach Superstorm Sandy tore open in 2012.

Earlier this year, Molloy College adjunct professor Eric Powers took 27 students, all high school teachers, to explore the inlet from the west, instead of walking from Smith Point County Park.

Powers, a village resident who also teaches school children and visitors to Long Island about its environment through his Your Connection to Nature company, said he much preferred approaching the inlet from Ho-Hum Beach.

He had made the suggestion to the village that it open its ferry to student explorers.

mike@greaterpatchogue.com

Related Column: Tell the feds to save the Breach at Old Inlet

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About the author: Michael White

Michael White is a Bellport resident, longtime newspaper reporter and editor, and the owner of greaterpatchogue.com. Email him your story ideas or tips: mike@greaterpatchogue.com