Too often, access to the waterfront does not include access to the water—but in the 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 kayaking programs between Piers 1 and 2 all summer long.
Free Walk-Up Kayaking
From the beginning of June until the end of September, The Free Walk-Up Kayaking is our most popular program.
Saturday 10:00AM to 3:00PM
Thursday 5:30PM to 6:45PM
Sunday 11:00AM to 2:00PM
In the summer, we give you access to our boats so you can paddle in the protected embayment between Piers 1 and 2—for free! All you have to do is show up at Pier 2, fill out a waiver, and get in line. When it's your turn, we'll put you in a life vest, explain the basics of kayaking, and keep watch over you while you paddle.
To keep this program running smoothly, here's some important information to remember:
- Show up early! We can only send out a limited number of boaters per session and usually cut off the line about an hour before the program ends.
- You must fill out a waiver in order to be allowed on the dock and in a boat.
- There's a 20 minute limit per boat. Our program is very popular, and we want to make sure everyone has their chance to kayak!
- At our busiest, wait time can be over an hour. But if you're in line with a waiver, you'll definitely get on the water!
- Don't cross the East River to Manhattan! For your safety, we ask that you stay away from the pier, rocks, and wooden pilings and that you don't leave the embayment.
What is kayak polo? It's a mix of basketball, water polo, and kayaking and a whole lot of fun! Every Sunday afternoon in the summer, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse, in association with Brooklyn Kayak Guides and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, hosts kayak polo games off of the East River. These games are open to the public and totally free! Your level of experience doesn't matter, and nothing will improve your kayaking skills as quickly as playing this game.
2018 Program: we're currently planning our 2018 program. For up-to-date information, join the MeetUp group
Here's some important information to remember before coming down to play:
- Each game is limited to 10 public participants. If any game isn't filled up, we can take additional participants on a first come, first served basis.
- Please arrive at least 20 minutes before your game for a quick tutorial (just in case if you need one!).
- We provide kayaks, paddles, life vests, and helmets. Please wear something you're comfortable getting wet.
Prepare to get addicted—in the best way!
Youth Kayak Program
Since 2011, in association 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 additional details or to reserve a spot.
More than 1,000 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.
What is the Youth Kayak Program?
It's an intro to kayaking for youths aged 12 to 18 that includes an on-land session, to familiarize participants with basic equipment and terminology; an on-water demonstration of skills like paddling forward, backward, and sideways, stopping, and turning; and finally time to try out these new skills! The entire session lasts 2 hours. All participants use sit-on-top plastic kayaks (both single and double kayaks are used). No more than 20 participants are 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 adult 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 for more information.
What equipment is provided?
We provide all the basics: the boat, paddle, and life jacket.