With harbor reservations at an all-time high, ferries booked solid and the airport bracing for its annual onslaught of private and commercial planes, available numbers point to another busy summer ahead on Martha’s Vineyard.

Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer on the Island, is a week out. Around the Island most officials said they believe the tourist season is settling back into pre-pandemic patterns.

Island harbor masters are reporting that the demand from boaters for spots is at its highest yet. Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Menemsha all take dockage or mooring reservations online now, and have been swamped with requests.

Menemsha Harbor was overwhelmed with more than 500 booking requests on its opening day early this month, according to Chilmark harbor master Ryan Rossi. Nearly all weekends in July are booked, and August was rapidly filling, Mr. Rossi said.

“This is the busiest we’ve seen it so far, as far as first-day reservation requests go,” he said. “I have 279 pending reservations still to answer.”

In Oak Bluffs, it was a similar story, with more than 700 people logging on to make summer docking requests.

“I think that we’re increasing exponentially every year,” harbor master Emily deBettencourt said. “July is now completely sold out except for one Monday.”

Following the trend, Edgartown also saw heavy demand for harbor reservations this year.
Vineyard Haven harbor does not take advance reservations, instead handling requests on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Steamship Authority opened its advance summer reservations for 2023 in January, and saw bookings similar to last year.

Boat line line spokesperson Sean Driscoll was unable to provide detailed up-to-date information about summer reservations this week, but he said the more than 20,000 early summer bookings were a good snapshot.

“Things are definitely picking up,” Mr. Driscoll said.

Vehicle traffic in the early months of 2023 has also returned to pre-pandemic levels, and walk-on passengers are close to what they were in 2019.

The Steamship Authority carried 35,000 more passengers and 1,500 more vehicles on the Vineyard route in the first three months of 2023 when compared with the same time frame in 2022.

With a fixed operating schedule and no plan to expand its already-packed routes, the state-chartered SSA runs at or near capacity during the peak months of the season.

This year the boat line will run slightly fewer trips on the Vineyard route in the lead-up to summer. An unexpected loss of several deck officers will affect the ferry Governor, which will run four round trips a day instead of her customary seven between May 30 and June 16, Mr. Driscoll said.

At the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, airport director Geoff Freeman said he did not anticipate a significant change in air traffic this season after a busy 2022.

“We’re really starting to see a leveling off after the Covid-era,” Mr. Freeman.

In 2019 there were about 50,000 commercial passengers at the airport. Though there was a major dip at the onset of the pandemic  — there were only about 15,000 passengers in 2020 — passenger counts rose to about 69,000 in 2022.

“We anticipate that staying up, but it’s hard to trend,” Mr. Freeman said. “It may fall to 2019 numbers.”

Riis Williams and Thomas Humphrey contributed reporting.