The Navigator

THE BOATER’S TRIFECTA: HOW TO ROW, SAIL AND KAYAK ON THE EAST RIVER

Put on your deck shoes and lather on the sunscreen. It’s time to get off shore

By COURTNEY MIFSUD

If you’re near a ferry landing, you’re near watercraft action. Paddle at sunrise? Check. Birdwatching on Newton Creek? Check. Tacking? Gybing? Check. But where should you start? Our source, Sebastian Head, is not exactly impartial. He’s been sailing since he was six, began teaching as a teenager and now is an instructor with the Manhattan Sailing School. So, yes, Head suggests…sailing! In New York City, “A lot of people don’t know sailing is an option,” says Head, but conditions on the East River are great. It has a consistent, steady breeze and lots of landmarks for easy navigation. His advice: “Get out there and try it.” Of course wannabe boaters who prefer paddle work have lots of other East River options. Here are some great boathouses to check out.

BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK BOATHOUSE

Watercraft action  Kayaking
Membership based?  No, but there are special, volunteer-only trips. Volunteers must join American Canoe Association for insurance purposes ($40/year or $5/event)
Lessons?  Beginner and intermediate classes are free; there is a fee for more advanced ACA certification courses
Where you go  The embayment between Piers 1 and 2; volunteers qualify for trips to Red Hook, the Statue of Liberty and more
Great for  All level kayakers
Don’t miss  Kayak polo on Sundays in the summer
Bonus  Curious about water quality? From May to October, the Brooklyn boathouse tests the water weekly and publishes the results on Friday afternoons

bbpboathouse.org
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 2
Ferry Landing  Brooklyn Bridge Park/DUMBO
Walking Time from Ferry Landing  16 minutes

east river kayak brooklyn bridge park dock

BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK BOATHOUSE

RED HOOK BOATERS

Watercraft action  Kayaking 
Membership based?  No, just get involved as a volunteer
Lessons?  No, but the boathouse provides free equipment and paddling and safety tips
Where you go  Red Hook Channel
Great for  All kayakers who want to clean up the river
Don’t miss  Special fundraising kayak trips, like the summer 2016 one around Governors Island
Bonus  If you volunteer on the beach, you can sign up for open water tours around Gowanus Canal, Governors Island, and Brooklyn Bridge Park

redhookboaters.org
Louis Valentino Jr. Pier Park 
104 Ferris Street
Ferry Landing  Red Hook Dock, Van Brunt Street (NY Water Taxi)
Walking Time from Ferry Landing  9 minutes

east river kayak red hook boaters

RED HOOK BOATERS

ONE°15 BROOKLYN SAILING SCHOOL

Watercraft action  Sailing
Membership based?  You can join the sailing club, or just take classes
Lessons?  Yes, from starter “tastings” ($140 pp for 3 hours) to 2-day weekend immersions ($600 pp)
Where you go  Classes are held in New York Harbor
Great for  Newbies who wants to learn sailing and other-level sailors who want to learn more
Don’t miss  The brand-new marina itself, with slips for more than 100 boats
Bonus  Skip the lessons and charter a private sailing trip through ONE°15 Marina

one15brooklynmarina.com
Brooklyn Bridge Park, between Piers 4 and 5
Ferry Landing  Brooklyn Bridge Park/DUMBO
Walking Time from Ferry Landing  16 minutes

east river kayak one15 brooklyn marina

ONE15 BROOKLYN SAILING SCHOOL

NORTH BROOKLYN BOAT CLUB

Watercraft action  Kayaking and canoeing
Membership based?  There’s a membership option for $40
Lessons?  Yes, and they’re free 
Where you go  Newton Creek and more
Great for  Eco-conscious paddlers who want to learn about environmental impact
Don’t miss  Easy-level birdwatching paddles
Bonus  Friday night bonfires at the boatyard (members only)

northbrooklynboatclub.org
49 Ash Street
Ferry Landing  Hunters Point South/ Long Island City
Walking Time from Ferry Landing  15 minutes, via the Pulaski Bridge

east river kayak north brookln boat club

NORTH BROOKLYN BOAT CLUB

THE LIC COMMUNITY BOATHOUSE

Watercraft action  Paddling, kayaking
Membership based?  No
Lessons?  Yes, and they’re free
Where you go  Hallets Cove (near Socrates Sculpture Park), Anable Basin and more
Great for  All skill levels, including beginners
Don’t miss  The Manhattanhenge excursion, to view the sunset aligning with the East-West grid of Manhattan streets
Bonus  Learn about estuary ecology

licboathouse.org
46-01 5th Street, LIC
Ferry Landing Hunters Point South/ Long Island City
Walking Time from Ferry Landing   12 minutes

east river kayak long island city community boathouse

THE LIC COMMUNITY BOATHOUSE

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