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Ask us anything

Find answers to frequently asked questions about kayaking, kayak polo, volunteering or the boathouse below.

 

Questions about kayaking

When is free kayaking?

Our walk-up kayaking program runs June through August on Thursday 6 pm to 7 pm and Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 2 pm.

Is it really free?

Yes. Our kayaking and kayak polo programs are completely free. We run on the generosity of our volunteers and your donations.

Where are you located?

We’re located between Pier 1 and 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park just north of the basketball courts and rollerskating rink.

Do I have to make a reservation?

Nope. Just show up. Keep in mind that kayaking is first come first serve so you might have to wait. At our busiest times the wait can be up to an hour so we recommend arriving early.

How long can I paddle for?

We can get very busy at times and in order to make sure everyone has a chance to paddle we ask that you limit yourself to 20 minutes on the water. If you want more time, you’re welcome to get back in line for a second turn.

What if I’ve never kayaked before?

That’s not a problem. We’ll show you everything you need to know before putting you out on the water. And if you find yourself needing additional instruction on the water, just ask a safety boaters (they’re in the red vests).

Will I get wet?

Most likely. It’s completely normal for a little water to get into the boat. So you may walk away with a wet seat. But we promise it’ll dry quick.

What if I fall in?

Our kayaks are pretty stable and people rarely fall into the water. However, if you do fall in we have safety boaters on the water to help you get back in.

Can I go outside the embayment?

No. For your safety we ask that you stay within the embayment boundaries and away from the rocks and wooden pilings. We also ask that you do not paddle under or near the pier and dock ramp.

Is kayaking ever cancelled?

Occasionally we need to cancel but we really try our best not to. The main reasons for cancellations are wind, lightening or poor water quality after rain. For up-to-date information on cancellations check our Instagram stories@bbpboathouse

How many people fit in a kayak?

We have single kayaks that fit one person and double kayaks that can fit up to two adults and one small child. Only one child is allowed per kayak and adults with children are given priority for double kayaks.

Are there any age or weight limits?

Children under 14 can kayak when accompanied by a guardian in a double kayak. Children ages 14-17 may kayak in a single kayak as long as a guardian is present. There are no weight limits. We’ve accommodated kayakers of approximately 400 lbs.

Are there changing rooms and lockers?

There are public restrooms on Pier 2 where you can change and small rental lockers where you can store your belongings (bring a quarter for the rental). You may also leave your stuff on the dock though we cannot be responsible for them.

 

Still have questions about kayaking?

Ask them by sending an email to hello@bbpboathouse.org


 

Questions about kayak polo

Do I have to sign up?

You can join our walk-up kids session at 12:30 pm or our adult session at 2 pm. However, we are limited to 10 people per game so the best way to guarantee you’ll play is to sign up for our Meet-Up session at 10:30 am.

What if I don’t know how to play?

That’s not a problem. We’ll teach you what you need to know. Just be sure to arrive at least 20 minutes early so we can give you a tutorial on the game and the equipment.

Do I need to bring anything?

We provide the helmets, life vests and kayaks. The only thing you need to bring is clothes you’re comfortable getting wet in, sunscreen and water.

 

Still have questions about kayak polo?

Ask them by sending an email to hello@bbpboathouse.org


 

Questions about volunteering

What types of jobs will I be doing?

Your responsibilities will depend on your shift. If you’re volunteering for opening shift you’ll help bring boat. paddles and vests out of the boatkeep and down to the dock. If you’re volunteering for the closing shift, you’ll help put everything back in the boatkeep. All shifts need pier and dock volunteers as well as safety boaters.

Pier volunteers

Your responsibilities include fitting people into life vests, answering any questions they may have and communicating with the dock volunteers to keep the line moving.

Dock volunteers

Your responsibilities include getting people in and out of kayaks, giving basic paddling instruction and explaining the embayment boundaries and boathouse rules.

Safety boaters

Your responsibilities include monitoring kayakers, giving on-water paddling instruction and performing rescues should a kayaker get stuck in the pilings or fall out of their boat. Only certified volunteers may sign up as safety boaters.

Program leaders

Your responsibilities include running the program, managing volunteers, answering questions and executing opening/closing procedures. Only approved volunteers may sign up as program leaders.

Are there any perks for volunteers?

Volunteering will earn you our undying love and appreciation as well as the good feelings that come with doing something good for the community. But if that’s not enough, you’ll also get special access to volunteer-only trips around the New York Harbor, exclusive training sessions to help you improve your skills and access to volunteer social events and private paddles.

Do I need to know how to kayak?

Nope. We’ll teach you everything you need to know. We hold regular volunteer orientations as well as safety boater and program leader training sessions. If you can’t make a volunteer orientation session, don’t worry about it. Just sign up for a shift and we’ll teach you everything you need to know during your shift.

How often do I have to volunteer?

You can volunteer as often or as little as you want. We have flexible 2.5 hour shifts so you can volunteer whatever time works best for you. We’re happy to have you, even if it’s only for one shift.

 

Still have questions about volunteering?

Ask them by sending an email to hello@bbpboathouse.org


 

Questions about the boathouse

Is the boathouse part of the park?

No. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy to provide free kayaking in the park.

Can I store my boat at the boathouse?

Unfortunately we cannot provide storage space for boats other than our own.

Can I use your floating dock to launch my boat?

We do not allow boats other than our own to launch from the floating dock during our walk-up kayaking program. You’re welcome to launch you own boat from the DUMBO cove just at the north end of Brooklyn Bridge Park or from the Pier 4 beach.

How can I help?

The most important ways you can help is to become a volunteer. To learn more about volunteering see visit our Get involved page. You can also help by making a tax-deductible donation.

Still have questions about the boathouse?

Ask them by sending an email to hello@bbpboathouse.org

 

© 2019 Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse