The Free Public Kayaking Program
Want to go kayaking for free with amazing views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty?
Then you've come to the right place, from the first weekend in June to the end of August! Every Saturday (from 10:00AM to 3:00PM) and Thursday (from 5:30PM to 6:45PM), we have free walk-up kayaking in Brooklyn Bridge Park, between Piers 1 and 2. Everything is first come, first served. We'll get you in a life vest, explain the basics of kayaking, and keep watch over you in the protected embayment while you paddle. There's a 20 minute limit to your time on the water - it will be the best 20 minutes of your day! (No, you cannot go across the East River to Manhattan!).
- Show up early! We're only able to send out a limited number of boaters per session.
- Not sure where we are? Here's how you can find us.
- Want to know what you should wear? Or where you're allowed to kayak? Check out our FAQs to get the answers to these and any other questions you might have!
Youth Kayak Program
Since 2011, in affiliation with Brooklyn Kayak Guides
and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse has provided an outstanding curriculum of youth paddling activities. Weekday programs are group activities, typically with camps or schools, and are coordinated by the Conservancy. Please contact them for addtional details or to reserve a spot.
What is the Youth Kayak Program?
It is an introduction to kayaking for youths aged 12 to 18. It will include an on-land session to familiarize participants with basic equipment and terminology and an on-water demonstration of such skills as paddling forward, backward, and sideways as well as stopping and turning, followed by time to try out these new skills! The entire session will last 2 hours. All participants will paddle on sit-on-top’style plastic kayaks, and a mixture of single and double kayaks are used. No more than 20 participants will be on the water at any given time.
What are the organizational requirements?
Every participant must have a signed and fully completed waiver. Youth waivers must be signed by a parent or guardian in advance and collected by a responsible adults who acts as the Group Supervisor. The Group Supervisor will affirm that all the waivers are accurate and complete when delivering them to the kayak program administrator; that he or she has full authority to make decisions on behalf of the youth group; and that the youth group has obtained all public and/or private permissions necessary to participate.
How much does the program cost?
Please contact the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy.
What equipment is provided?
We provide all the basics: the boat, paddle, and life jacket.
More than 1000 teenagers from youth groups, camps, and summer school programs have participated in our programs, learning kayak safety and basics and paddling safely in pools and sheltered harbor waters.
As an organization, we feel that offering youth greater access to the water and empowering them with the skills and confidence to embrace the opportunity is one of our most important missions. For urban youth, many of whom have never been on a boat of any kind before entering one of our programs, a simple paddling experience can literally be a life-changing experience.
Kayak Polo & Kids Kayak Polo
Offered Sundays, June 7 to August 24th,, 2014, subject to change
(And of course, always subject to weather)
12:00PM – 1:00PM Youth and Volunteer Focus
1:00PM – 2:00PM Open, Instruction & Play
2:00PM – 3:00PM Open play
About the Program
The Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse, in partnership with Brooklyn Kayak Guides and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, will offer kayak polo on Sunday afternoons from 12:00PM to 3:00PM.
Paddlers of all abilities, including complete newcomers, are welcome. Beginning and intermediate players will use sit-on-top kayaks. More ambitious intermediates and advanced paddlers will use true decked-kayak polo boats: fun, highly maneuverable, and great boats in which to hone all kayaking skills. Nothing will improve your kayaking as rapidly as playing polo.
Participation is free. Participation is limited to 10 public paddlers (plus leaders and assistants) per hour. An open lottery held 5 minutes before each hour may be used to determine paddlers.
During the first hour, a special emphasis is on giving an opportunity to young paddlers, ages 11 to 18.
All participants are required to wear a life vest during the on-water period—no exceptions. Participants must follow the directions of the instructor and staff. Participants who don’t follow instructions will be required to remain on land.
Participants must be able to hear and understand instructions and communicate with the program instructor and staff, enter, exit and sit in a kayak without assistance, hold and move a kayak paddle, hold their breath under water, and keep their head above water while wearing a life vest.
We suggest wearing layers of quick-dry fabrics and a secure hat. Please arrive ready to paddle. Participants who wear glasses must secure them firmly (we recommend clips or “Croakie” style holders.) Participants who wear contacts should consider whether they are comfortable wearing them if they get wet. We recommend bringing a dry set of clothes to change into after the session. There are public restrooms with a changing area on Pier 2.