The Brooklyn Bridge Park Kayaking Program
Too often, access to the waterfront does not include access to the water—but in Brooklyn Bridge Park, it does. With the floating dock between Piers 1 and 2 and ongoing enhancements and modifications in the surrounding park area, the idea of human-powered boating has become an important part of the park's design. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse is pleased to offer a variety of public kayaking programs between Piers 1 and 2 all summer long.
About the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse
The purpose of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse, a registered NYC non-profit organization, is to promote human-powered boating and safe public access to the Brooklyn waterfront, to provide opportunities for people to learn about and participate in human-powered boating, and to promote environmentally sound policies that provide for and sustain human-powered boating in New York harbor.
Over the past few summers, volunteers from several local boating groups (including the Downtown Boathouse, Village Community Boathouse, Gowanus Dredgers, LIC Boathouse, Red Hook Boathouse, and Sebago Canoe Club), helped pioneer public walk-up paddling and rowing in DUMBO Cove. It proved immensely popular, with at times up to 100 people waiting in line to get on the water.
Since the opening of the incredible new Brooklyn Bridge Park just to the south of DUMBO Cove and the Brooklyn Bridge, we have expanded the walk-up program considerably over the past three years, while also laying plans for an even more ambitious range of paddling activities in the future.
Upon completion, the Park’s amenities will include a 5,000 square foot boathouse repurposed from an already existing maintenance shed. During construction, we will be operating out of two 40 foot containers located between Piers 1 and 2 that have been donated by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation.
Our kayaking program has been given a generous boost through donations from the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. With their assistance, we've purchased 20 new boats and related gear, which has allowed us to pursue a full and vigorous paddling program. Furthermore, the floating dock between Piers 1 and 2 has made it easier to get paddlers in and out of boats, shortening our lines.
Last year in 2013, we put 5,000 paddlers—from toddlers to great-grandparents—on the water for free, every Thursday and Saturday all summer. We expanded our youth kayaking camp with local groups and started youth and adult kayak polo classes. We also ran numerous trips across NYC local waters, to Astoria, Greenpoint, Red Hook, and Staten Island.
In 2014, we hope to expand our offerings, purchase additional boats and equipment, and increase our educational efforts.
The Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse, Inc. Board of Directors
Charlie O'Donnell, Chair
Bill Orme, Secretary & Treasurer
Rob Buchanan, Rowing Coordinator
Tom Potter, Kayaking Committee Chair