BANGOR, Maine — Last month’s record-breaking summerlike temperatures got more than a few people thinking about boating and being on the water a lot earlier than usual.
The Bangor Parks and Recreation Department has been thinking about it, too, and coming up with ways to attract more boaters while also making it easier for them to line up and pay for dock space in advance.
“We’ve been looking at ways to streamline fees and make rental arrangements much easier via Internet or phone, and we’re looking at ways to package things together, like dock rental space with Waterfront Concerts events, through the city website,” said Tracy Willette, Parks and Recreation Department director.
Boaters can visit Bangor’s website at www.bangormaine.gov to download and fill out a harbor reservation form for certain dates, but the new features will allow them to make reservation inquiries immediately online.
And for the first time, they soon will be able to call a department staff member during normal business hours — 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday — and not only make a docking reservation but also pay for it by credit card.
“This is the first time we’ll be able to do that,” said recreation superintendent Debbie Gendreau. “We want to make the process as easy as possible and bring more people to Bangor. Now with the capability to do different types of reservations and credit card capabilities online and over the phone, it should make things easier for boaters.”
This is also the first year that the harbor master’s office has operated as part of the Parks and Recreation Department. Being under the department extends contact hours for the harbor master’s office, which operates on a part-time weekly schedule of 20-30 hours.
“We’re probably both going to be handling reservations between his hours and ours,” said Gendreau, who added that the website services would likely be available two to three days after council approval of the docking fees.
“We’re not even open for the season down there yet,” said Jerry Ledwith, who has been Bangor’s harbor master for 16 years. “But I’m already getting a lot of calls and seeing a lot of evidence that Bangor’s becoming more of a destination with the concerts, the [folk] festival, Hollywood Casino and all the other things we have going on.”
Ledwith and parks and recreation staff have come up with a proposed rate structure for docking fees, pending approval by the Bangor City Council’s government operations committee and the council itself.
The proposed fees are as follows:
• Short-term (daily) rates — $28 for boats 16-26 feet long, $45 for boats over 26 to 40 feet, $70 for boats over 40 to 65 feet, and a quoted price for larger vessels.
• Long-term (monthly or more, depending on the season) — $775 for boats 25 feet and under, $1,145 for 25-40 feet, and a quote for boats more than 40 feet in length.
• July and August short-term rates — $435 for boats 25 feet and under, $595 for 25-40 feet, and a quote for boats more than 40 feet.
• July-August monthly — $225 for boats 25 feet and under, $375 for 25-40 feet, and a quote for 40 feet-plus.
Last year, one of the 300-foot docks wasn’t used, but all of the city’s docks will be used this year.
“We have a small dock for canoes and kayaks in the new area downriver and next to the bulkhead,” said Gendreau. “Dock two is 90 feet long and for short-term use, dock three [where the small city cruise ship The Patience is moored] is 120 feet long. Dock four is seasonal and long-term and dock five is steel.”
Both docks four and five are 300 feet long, but dock five is designed to handle large boats.
Gendreau and Willette are hoping they can cross-promote their docking information and website with the website for Waterfront Concerts by inserting links on the other’s sites.