The Public Paddles Are Almost Here!

The next public paddle is Opening Day, May 26!

The next public paddle is Opening Day, May 26!


At these free, informal paddles, North Brooklyn Boat Club welcomes walk-up participants to join trained NBBC guides for short trips on Newtown Creek and often out toward the East River, where we often pause to take in the view of Manhattan. Usually we take out our 25′ big canoes. Everyone on the paddle works together under expert instruction to forge a unique NYC experience, seeing the city in a new way. We might also take out regular tandem canoes or sit-on-top kayaks depending on the weather.

Heading west along the bulkhead

Heading west along the bulkhead

In Dutch Kills

In Dutch Kills

Public paddles are free and open to everyone. We especially hope to welcome our Brooklyn neighbors to the boatyard to see the city the way we love to see it — from the water. In particular, we are proud to welcome other nonprofit community organizations to join us and relax from the hard work of making the world a little bit better.

We will try to get everyone who shows up on the water using our war canoes, but the earlier you arrive the better your chance of going on a paddle. All our voyages are led by certified trip leaders and include some of the best views of the city. This is a great way to check out the boatyard and get a chance to explore the local waterways. Paddling is free! And we serve beverages, veggie dogs, hot dogs, and other snacks. Our public paddles are child and pet friendly.

This year’s schedule (subject to change; please check our Calendar of Events):

  • Saturday, May 26, 12-4 PM — Opening Day 2018!
  • Saturday, June 16, 12-4 PM
  • Saturday, July 14, 12-4 PM
  • Saturday, July 28, 12-4 PM
  • Saturday, August 18, 12-4 PM
  • Saturday, September 8, 12-4 PM


The big canoes!

The big canoes!

Winter Workshops Keep Things Warm at NBBC

We’re whiling away the winter with a wide array of workshops at NBBC!

It’s a problem as ancient as boating and cold weather: what to do until it is warm enough to get back out on the water again! This winter, we’ve filled the cold days with workshops, classes, and other activities in our new enclosed space, the Crystal Shed. Built by NBBC member-volunteers, the Crystal Shed is warm and welcoming when the winter winds blow!

The NBBC Nautical Knitters have made the Crystal Shed their home this winter!

Nautical Knitting in the new Crystal Shed, January 2018

Their pattern (ahem) is to meet every two weeks, steered through the winter days by Monica and Heather. In the Crystal Shed, they have found new ways to combine their interests:

Keep an eye on the NBBC Calendar for more chances to join Nautical Knitters in action!

Build Your Own Rescue Gear Workshop

On a cold February Saturday, the wood stove in the Crystal Shed was fired up to keep warm a group of trip leaders and trip assistants as they expanded their kits by crafting rescue gear.

Led by Chris Raab of Tuktu Paddles, who has also worked with NBBC’s Canoe Committee as a trainer for trip leaders, the group constructed contact tows, stirrup rescues/short tows, and tow bags.

These items become important pieces of trip gear and complement the intense training undertaken by the member-volunteers who lead NBBC’s many canoe and kayak paddles during the season. Plus, they just look cool!

Brad will save you!

As serious and important as rescue gear is, of course, the day was also a pretty great excuse to use a heat gun!

Heat gun!

And building paddling gear felt like taking one step closer to spring!

More Member Workshops Coming Up!

On February 11, Monica and Heather will hold the first installment in their suite of classes designed to help NBBC members advance toward Official Paddler status–and hopefully trip leader, too!

This first class, Marine Radio and Weather for Boaters, offers important information for the urban paddler. Next to your life jacket, a marine radio is your most important piece of safety equipment. Become one of the few people in the Five Boroughs to be in the know of how to use a marine radio according to FCC and Coast Guard regulations. This class will also cover the basics of weather for boaters.

This is the first of a series of five classes that provide crucial information for those seeking to to become an NBBC Official Paddler.

  • Marine Radio
  • Everything Local
  • Trip Planning Part 1: Theory
  • Trip Planning Part 2: Practicum
  • Nautical Knots

These classes are for NBBC members–another reason to join the club!

It’s Almost Paddling Season — and It’s a Perfect Time to Join NBBC

All NBBC parties and events; member trips by canoe, kayak, and rowboat; and Environmental Education activities are run by our member-volunteers and funded mainly by membership dues. NBBC members make everything possible. Membership in the North Brooklyn Boat Club is a way to tell the world that you are committed, caring, and adventurous — and the perfect way to find meaning and adventure in the midst of the urban grind.

Coming back from Wallabout Bay, October 14, 2017. The Bone Shore. Photo by Holger Neuhaus

The benefits of becoming a North Brooklyn Boat Club member are many:

  • More chances to paddle with trained NBBC trip leaders! (See our calendar)
  • Learning paddling, navigation, and safety skills to assist trip leaders and help get more people involved and on the water
  • The opportunity to complete our Official Paddler process, which permits use of club vessels and equipment outside of organized paddles
  • Access to our cabin at ACA Camp Lake Sebago on a beautiful lake in Harriman State Park. (NOTE: You must also join the ACA to use Camp Lake Sebago)
  • Attending the annual NBBC meeting
  • Involvement and investment in NBBC’s work to advocate and facilitate water access, human-powered boating, and environmental restoration of the waterways of North Brooklyn, including outreach to other community organizations

The 2018 Membership dues are still just $40! That’s less than two weeks of a Metrocard because we want to include as many people as we can as NBBC members.

But how do you join such a wonderful club?!

A holiday URL

Just use our online membership form. And when you join up or any time afterward, adjust your Member Profile to specify what kinds of club activities you want to hear about via e-mail and what volunteer opportunities most interest you. You can also print out a customized membership card and use it to show people that you are committed to adventure, fun, advocacy, stewardship, and all the good things in life!

A fire lit to guide us home . . . Manhattan Circ, October 7, 2017. Photo by Holger Neuhaus

North Brooklyn Boat Club uses membership dues to fulfill our mission: enabling and advocating for human-powered boating on the waterways bordering North Brooklyn. The organization enables local citizens to be effective stewards of the ecology and so preserve the recreation and freedom that the waterways engender.

Membership puts the power in human-powered boating!

If you don’t like to pay for things online, want to discuss a sliding scale for dues, or have any other questions, check out the options on our membership page or e-mail us at info@northbrooklynboatclub.org.

Renew your membership or join today!

NBBC Supports Save the Boundary Waters

In 2014. NBBC welcomed Amy and Dave Freeman on their journey by canoe from Ely, Minnesota, to Washington, D.C., where they hoped to draw attention and federal protection to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, which is threatened by sulfide-ore copper mining. Two years later, the fight not over, Amy and Dave spent an entire year in the BWCA. Part of that year is captured in the short film Bear Witness:

The BWCA is still threatened by the sulfide-ore copper mining. Here’s the latest information from Save the Boundary Waters:

Recently, federal agencies in charge of managing and protecting this area denied two old mining leases next to the Wilderness and announced a two-year “time out” on mining activities in order to thoroughly study the watershed of the Boundary Waters and determine if this is the wrong place for sulfide-ore copper mining. This is a great first step as we work to establish permanent protection, but our work is not done. Please ask your family and friends to join you in signing our petition, thanking decision-makers for taking this first step, and urging them to enact permanent protection for the Boundary Waters: Here’s the link to take action.

We hope all NBBC members and all those who believe in preserving one of the last unpolluted spaces in the United States will tell the government that you care about saving the Boundary Waters Canoe Area from pointless industrial degradation.

We at NBBC paddle all season in waters that are thoroughly imbricated in the country’s industrial legacy. We treasure those small measures of wilderness that break through this history of abuse: egrets in Dutch Kills, kingfishers in Bushwick Inlet, cormorants watching the ferries pass on the East River. All of these things let us see the city again, for the first time, in new ways, and rededicate us to NBBC’s mission: enabling and advocating for access to the waterways of New York for its residents. Stewardship and rehabilitation of those waterways is the natural outgrowth of this mission.

Egret in Dutch Kills, July 28, 2017

It seems natural then, to expand this mission to one of the few places left in the country that has not suffered this extraordinary abuse, where you can dip your canteen into the lake water for a drink and listen to the loons call in the autumn and the wolves howl in the winter. We hope everyone who sees this takes a moment to learn more about the Boundary Waters and then takes action.

Give the Gift of Belonging to NBBC

North Brooklyn Cheer Club

Memberships to the North Brooklyn Boat Club are the perfect way to tell the committed, caring, and adventurous people in your life that you get them! NBBC is a community-based, mission-driven organization dedicated to enabling and advocating for access to the waterways of New York City for city residents, especially in North Brooklyn and Long Island City. All of our events; member trips by canoe, kayak, and rowboat; and environmental-education activities are run by our member-volunteers and funded mainly by membership dues. So belonging gives more than access to a new way to see the city — it actively helps the club’s mission of access and stewardship for all New Yorkers.

And moreover, it’s super fun!

Monica & Heather's Holiday Snowy Paddle!! from Robert C. DiMaio on Vimeo.

The benefits of becoming a North Brooklyn Boat Club member are many:

  • More chances to paddle with trained NBBC trip leaders! (See our calendar and sign up for our newsletter)
  • Learning paddling, navigation, and safety skills to assist trip leaders and help get more people involved and on the water
  • The opportunity to complete our Official Paddler process, which permits use of club vessels and equipment outside of organized paddles
  • Access to our cabin at ACA Camp Lake Sebago on a beautiful lake in Harriman State Park. (NOTE: You must also join the ACA to use Camp Lake Sebago)
  • Attending the annual NBBC meeting
  • Involvement and investment in NBBC’s work to advocate and facilitate water access, human-powered boating, and environmental restoration of the waterways of North Brooklyn

The 2018 Membership dues are still just $40. That’s less than two weeks of a Metrocard because we want to include as many people as we can as NBBC members.

But how do you give such a wonderful gift?!

A very holiday URL

Just use our online membership form. Fill out as much information as you can on behalf of your giftees: name, address, DOB, contact number, especially. To heighten the holiday mystery of it all, you can use YOUR e-mail address so that your giftees won’t know a thing until you tell them. NBBC is also making a special holiday e-mail announcement to send to all new members who join between December 16 and January 1. And you can also print out a customized membership card and present that as an indication that you know the people in your life who are most committed to adventure, fun, advocacy, stewardship, and all the good things in life!

Life preservers


After all, the life we save may be our own!