About

The Fire Island Hotel

Set in a former lifeboat station dating back to the early 1900s, this casual hotel in Ocean Bay Park lies 5 miles from Fire Island Lighthouse and 9 miles from Captree State Park.

The individually decorated, laid-back rooms all feature flat-screen TVs and iPod docks, as well as private outdoor terraces. Suites add pull-out sofas and kitchenettes, and there are also cottages with full kitchens and outdoor showers. Most offer ocean views.

Amenities include an outdoor pool, a tiki bar and grill, and a coffee shop. There’s also direct beach access, and indoor and outdoor event space.

Our Hotel History

In the mid 1800’s, the US Life Saving Corp was formed and began constructing outposts along the south shore of Long Island to help European and freight hauling sailors navigate to safe harbor ports from Montauk to the New York Harbor. In 1849, the Old Forge Life Saving Services (LSS) Station in Center Moriches was one of the first built and every 4-5 miles thereafter along the south shore of Long Island and Fire Island, manned outposts with a station master and a handful of sailors operated beacon lights and helped to prevent captains grounding ships along the Long Island barrier beaches and every 4-5 miles thereafter along the south shore of Long Island and Fire Island, manned outposts with a station master and a handful of sailors operated beacon lights and helped to prevent captains grounding ships along the Long Island barrier beaches.

Antique-photo-1-300x212
photo Courtesy of Long Island Maritime Museum

The Fire Island Hotel and Resort was one such station and is the only remaining station of its kind on Long Island. Manned by the US Life Saving Guards under the US Marine Bureau through to the late 1940’s, the Ocean Bay Park Station operated for over 50 years. The property and its inhabitants had a long history protecting our shores and helping sailors navigate. In the event of a ship grounding, the guards helped disembark passengers and unload the vessels of their cargo right here on our beach. Through prohibition in the 1920’s, the guard sat watch while bootleggers illegally transported moonshine through Fire Island before it got to mainland Long Island and then transported to NY City. Some of the “shine” made to speakeasies on the south shore of LI and into NYC, while there was always some left behind as bounty for those on watch. It is no surprise a “spirited” lore was ingrained as part of Fire Island’s history. In its final chapter under the guard, the station masters and guard kept watch for the German U-boats that patrolled along our shores during WWII.

 

 

photo Courtesy of Long Island Maritime Museum
photo Courtesy of Long Island Maritime Museum

From limited historical evidence, the largest structure on our site, known as the watchtower for its lookout post cupola, is believed to have been erected circa 1909. Aside from the Fire Island Lighthouse itself, the Watchtower was the tallest building on the island. It housed a beacon light and compass painted into the ceiling with a wind vane through its roof of its perch three stories high. The beacon light, viewable for miles out into the Atlantic as well as down the beach, provided an ability to signal in Morse code for communication and offer a light to vessels sailing by the shores. In the early part of the 1900’s, the Commodore Quarters, which now houses our lobby, was floated over from Old Forge River in Center Moriches after being decommissioned there. The outpost named “Old Forge Life Saving Station” for where it was built was allegedly decommissioned while the US LSS was downsizing as the technology of the times got better. Given the frugality of the US Government at the time, which is very different than today, the building was saved, barged over to Ocean Bay Park and situated on a concrete foundation where it stands today and housed the Commodore, Master of the Stationhouse. The Boat House was constructed to house several life boats and it remains in place today. The property housed over a dozen or so men year round through to 1949. For its final task, during WWII, the station squad searched the waters along the shores for German U-boats so as to keep our shores safe. German U-boats were seen from various locations along Fire Island and allegedly some Germans succeeded in landing on the Fire Island shores, west of Ocean Bay Park and spies made their way into Babylon. During World War II President Franklin D. Roosevelt transferred the Marine Bureau to the US Coast Guard under Executive Order #9083 and in 1946, placed merchant marine licensing and merchant vessel safety under the US Coast Guard (USCG) service’s purview.

After WWII, in 1949, the USCG consolidated operations and all personnel were moved to the Lighthouse west of Kismet and the OBP Life Saving station was decommissioned and sold off as surplus property to the highest bidder, the Flynn family, where they had already established themselves with a bar/casino on the bay. The Flynn’s floated a few more beach shacks to the site from the mainland and continued to operate it as an adjunct to their already successful business. The transformation of a USCG boarding house to an adjunct of the Flynn business endeavor seemed to be a natural, and for the next 40 years, until it was physically exhausted by the patrons and ocean side wear and tear, was sold off again in 1989.

The current owners saw an opportunity to take a part of Fire Island history and recreate a uniqueness unto itself, renaming the property “The Fire Island Hotel and Resort” where it began a new chapter in its history. Many a story can be told by the walls of this property, and many more are to be made. We hope your story to be told will be worth telling and hope you enjoy your stay here at our property.

We thank you for your patronage and hope you make some of your own history and good memories here on Fire Island.