Safety Protocols

These are the safety protocols that the North Brooklyn Boat Club has adopted for the 2012 season. Members and guests are expected to exercise common sense and follow all safety protocols at all times.

Protocols for Independent Use of Club Equipment

I. General Rules
To use the North Brooklyn Boat Club (NBBC) launch for any and all vessels, whether independently owned or club owned, you must satisfy all of the below qualifications:

  • Be a NBBC member in good standing as defined in bylaws.
  • Review and pass a written test about local waterways knowledge.
  • Be observed satisfactory by a certified trip leader on 5 boating trips (last trip you plan and lead under observation).
  • Certified by an accredited organization as noted depending on the vessel below in Section II.
  • Boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol is prohibited.

II. Certification

  • Canoes and Kayaks: American Canoe Association (ACA) or British Canoe Union (BCU) skills assessment level 2.  Or on a case-by-case basis as approved by the Steering Committee, a member may obtain approval from a certified trip leader or instructor following proper demonstration of equivalent level 2 skills and rescues.
  • Rowboats: Demonstrate open water rescue and basic skills to Steering Committee member(s).
  • Sailboats: American Sailing Association (ASA) Basic Keelboat Sailing 101 or US Sailing Basic Keelboat certification.

III. Non-Member Use
NBBC members who successfully satisfy all the requirements in Section I are allowed to take non-members onto the water after the non-members sign a legal waiver of liability and risks and certify they are able to swim. Members are allowed one guest in the case of solo vessels (such as kayaks) or multiple guests when captaining a larger vessel (such as a canoe, rowboat, or sailboat) so long as the total number of people on board does not exceed the recommended capacity limits of that vessel. Non-members must follow all NBBC rules and protocols.

IV. Use Requirements
Each time you go out:

  • File a float plan with attendant at Boathouse and/or attach to Float Plan Clipboard.
  • It is strongly recommended that you do not paddle alone.  If you do, you must carry appropriate solo paddle rescue equipment (e.g.  paddle float, radio).
  • You must always follow NBBC protocols at all times.
  • Every group/person must have appropriate rescue plan and equipment.
  • Every group/person must carry a VHF marine Radio.

Trip Leader Qualifications and Trip Protocols

I. General Rules
To use the North Brooklyn Boat Club (NBBC) launch for any and all vessels as a Trip Leader you must satisfy all of the below qualifications:

  • Be a NBBC member in good standing as defined in bylaws.
  • Endorsed by NBBC after passing a written local knowledge test.
  • Show skills and leadership ability over at least 5 trips as an Assistant Leader (including at least one trip planned and led under observation by a Certified Trip Leader).
  • Certified by an accredited organization as noted depending on the vessel below in Section II.

II. Certification

  • Canoe: Successful completion of the American Canoe Association (ACA) Canoe Trip Leading program.
  • Kayak: Successful completion of the ACA Coastal Kayak Day-Trip Leading program.

III. Non-Member Use
Each Trip Leader is allowed to lead trips with up to 6 non-members and/or uncertified members. If the Trip Leader has a Certified Member as a designated Assistant on a trip, up to 10 non-members and/or uncertified members may be brought out. The maximum number of total paddlers allowed for any group is 15, which must include a minimum of one Trip Leader and two designated Assistants. Any groups larger than 15 persons must be broken up into separate trips and maintain the aforementioned ratios of Trip Leaders to uncertified paddlers. Non-members must sign a legal waiver of liability and risks and certify they are able to swim. Non-members must follow all NBBC rules and protocols.

Exceptions to the non-member limits above will be determined on a case by case basis by the Steering Committee. Examples may include events/person such as City of Water Day, fund-raising events, VIP events, Community Boathouse exchange, etc. All exceptions must be approved in writing by the Steering Committee and must take all safety precautions.

IV. Use Requirements
Each time you go out:

  • File a float plan with attendant at Boathouse and/or attach to Float Plan Clipboard.
  • You must always follow NBBC protocols at all times.
  • Every group must have appropriate rescue plan and equipment.
  • Every group must include someone with a VHF marine Radio.

Winter Protocols

I. Kayaks
When water and air temperatures combined are less than 120 or the water is less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit:

  • A wet suit is a must, and a dry suit is highly recommended.
  • Trip leaders and all participants must be trained in winter paddling and dry-suit use (via NBBC workshops or approved paddles).

II. Canoes
When water and air temperatures combined are less than 120 or the water is less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit:

  • On all East River trips and on any creek trip with only one boat, a wet suit is a must, and a dry suit is highly recommended.
  • Winter/cold water trips are for advanced paddlers as judged by the trip leader/official paddler/canoe comm. head. Guests are allowed at discretion of the trip leader or the official paddler in charge of the boat.
  • No minors allowed.
  • At least one dry bag with extra clothing and emergency blankets per trip.
  • Trip leaders and official paddlers must be trained in dry-suit use and winter paddling (via NBBC workshop) in order to lead cold-water paddles.

III. Rowboats
When water and air temperatures combined are less than 120 or the water is less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit:

  • A dry bag containing dry clothes and emergency blankets must be kept on board.
  • If a boat is operated solo, or in the East River, cold-weather gear must be worn (dry suit, wet suit, or survival suit).

IV. Exceptions
Requests for an exception to winter-paddling policies for specific events can be brought to the board for a quick ruling. These requests should be submitted in writing and include measures to address cold-water concerns for the event (e.g., safety boats, extra gear). The board will render a quick decision so that there is time to secure the extra safety measures.