FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How can I help, learn more, and be part of the program?
The best way to help—and have even more fun!—is to volunteer at the boathouse. See our Volunteering page for more information.
You can also make a tax-deductible donation to support the Boathouse, either during one of our public programs or online. See our Donation page for more information.
When and where is free public kayaking available?
Free walk-up public kayaking is available for the duration of our season, from the first weekend of June through the end of August. We have public paddling sessions every Saturday and Thursday in the embayment between Piers 1 and 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, accessible from our floating dock off of Pier 2. Here's how to find us in the Park!
Saturday from 10:00AM until 3:00PM until last weekend in Sept.
Saturday from 11:00AM until 2:00PM until last weekend in August.
Thursdays from 5:30PM to 6:45PM. until last Thursday in August.
At our busiest, wait time can be over an hour. Please be patient! And we recommend you show up early. We are only able to send out a limited number of boaters per session.
Are you open on the weekdays?
Yes. We have walk-up kayaking on Thursdays from 5:30PM to 6:45PM.
What are the nearest subway stations?
The A and C trains at High Street and the F train at York Street are the closest stops.
Is kayaking ever canceled due to weather?
Very rarely. Kayaking is a water sport, after all, so rain won’t stop us. Winds and lightning might. Please check our Facebook and Twitter for any last minute updates.
Will I get wet?
Probably, as some water usually finds its way into the kayaks. But, don't worry, in hot weather you'll naturally dry off quickly!
What should I wear?
Anything you're comfortable getting wet—a bathing suit, or shorts and a T-shirt.
Is there a changing area?
NO, but there are public restrooms at the entrance to the park at Pier 1 as well as on Pier 2.
Do we need to bring anything with us?
You don't need to bring much, but please keep in mind that a lot of our programs are on hot summer days! So it might be a good idea to bring some water (or money for water) and sun protection.
Are there lockers for us to put our belongings?
Lockers are available for rental on Pier 2. We cannot be responsible for any belongings left out when you're on the water, though we have not had problems in previous years, and unfortunately we cannot allow you to take your belongings with you on the water for safety reasons.
Can I rent a kayak? And what does it cost?
NO, you can't rent anything because everything is 100% FREE. But your donations are much appreciated and will go a long way in helping maintain this nonprofit and completely volunteer-run program! Please see our Donation page for more information.
How long will I have to wait?
Everything is first come, first served, so the wait time can be over an hour at our busiest.
What equipment is provided?
We provide everything you'll need: the boat, paddle, and life jacket.
What kind of kayaks do you have for public use?
We have both single and double kayaks. All our public kayaks are sit-on-top kayaks. The boats are unsinkable, stable, and self bailing. Any water that splashes up on the boat drains out the holes in the bottom, but the seat of your pants may still get wet while you paddle.
How many people can be in a kayak?
A single kayak accommodates one person; a double kayak requires two people. Some of our double kayaks also have space for a small child to ride in the kayak between the two adult paddlers. Only one child is allowed per boat.
Do I need to know how to swim in order to kayak?
NO, but learning is generally a good idea! Either way, you're required to wear a life vest.
What if I fall out of my kayak?
We have multiple trained Safety Paddlers on the water at all times who can quickly help you get back into your kayak. And don't forget you'll be wearing a life vest, so there's no need to worry.
How long can I kayak?
Please limit yourself to 20 minutes on the water per boat.
Where can I kayak?
Public paddling takes place in an embayment off the East River, bordered by Pier 2 and the park . For safety reasons, we ask that paddlers stay away from the pier, the rocks, and the wooden pilings on the edges of the park; in addition, paddlers may not go out past the end of the pier or onto the river.
Are there any age limits? Or size limits?
Those 18 years and older can kayak on their own. 14- to 17-years-olds can also kayak by themselves, as long as a guardian is present. Anyone younger than 14 must be accompanied by a guardian in the same double kayak. If you bring multiple kids, they'll have to take turns with you. It is recommended that a child be at least 36 inches tall.
What about a weight limit?
There is no weight limit, and we have successfully accommodated people of approximately 400 lbs.
Do you give lessons?
We provide a short introduction on your first visit, and if you come by when it isn't busy, our volunteers can often give you additional pointers. Courses are also available. If you become an active volunteer you can participate in our volunteer training sessions, which cover advanced kayaking skills. Check out our Trips & Training page for more information.
I have my own boat. Can I store it at the boathouse?
Unfortunately, NO. We currently have limited space for our own boats and equipment.
Do you offer longer trips in the river outside of the Pier 1 or 2 Embayment?
Yes, this is one of the many advantages to volunteering at the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse. Check out our Trips & Training page for more information.
Didn't find the information you were hoping for? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to answer questions related to the kayaking program.