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The Free Public Kayaking Program

We're excited to announce the public schedule for free kayaking activities in the Brooklyn Bridge Park. You can find it right on the calendar located at the bottom of this page (scroll down). We've added lots more Thursday dates after work and extended our Saturday times by 1 hour (now from 10:00am until 3:00pm, but make sure you show up by around 2:30pm or you might not get there before the line cuts off.)
The Walk-up is our basic service, which is available at the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse between Piers 1 and 2 of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Paddling will usually be held in the embayment between Piers 1 and 2 Saturdays and every other Thursday. To get to the Boathouse, enter Pier 1 of the Park at the end of Old Fulton Street (next to the Ice Cream Factory) and walk south 200 yards.

There are no reservations— everything is first come first serve. Not to worry, the wait time is usually no more than 20 minutes at peak times. We'll get you in a life vest, explain the basics, and keep watch over you in our semi-enclosed space. (No, you can't go across to Manhattan!) For answers to the many questions you may have go right to the Have Questions? in the navigation above. These activities are related to our free public kayaking program.  To inquire about going out in a group and rowing, please contact

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, an on-water demonstration of such skills as paddling forward, backward, and sideways; stopping and turning; followed by time to try out your 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 - August 24th, subject to change

(And of course, always subject to weather)

12-noon – 1pm         Youth and Volunteer Focus

1pm – 2pm                Open, Instruction & Play

2pm – 3pm                Open play


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-noon to 3pm.

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 – 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.