Author Archives: Dewey Thompson

Expanded COVID-related Paddling & Boatyard Access Protocols

There are only a few weeks left in the paddling season but, with our mission being to get people on the water, we want to offer as much access to paddling as possible while abiding by City/State guidelines and safe practices. It’s important to understand that the new protocols outlined below offer more members the opportunity to paddle but the delivery of kayak and canoe trips remains solely up to our volunteer Trip Leaders as does who and how many paddlers they allow on their trips. This is all by way of saying that, while the protocols have expanded, we cannot guarantee that there will be a significant increase in the number of trips launched in the remaining weeks.

• Number of trip participants: 8
• Trip Leaders, at their discretion, may include any skill category of paddler on their trips.
• Trips will be posted on the calendar for online registration.

Trip Leaders and Boatyard Activity Organizers will question every participant to ensure that none have COVID symptoms nor have been exposed recently to anyone with symptoms.

• PFD protocol: Unused life vests will be on a garment rack in container #1. Used vests will be in large black bag in container #1, clearly marked with the date used. After 3 days minimum, vests from the bags can be returned to the rack.
• All previously applied NBCB COVID protocols, including masks required in the boatyard and sanitizing processes of equipment, remain in effect.
• Boatyard Access: safely distanced, masked members and guests (with members) may participate in gardening, boatyard and boat maintenance.


To date, NBCB has been following the New York State on PAUSE directives and our facilities have been closed with paddling not allowed.  Recently, the State directives expanded to include marinas and boatyards where they follow strict distancing and disinfection protocols as well as the operation of “boats or other watercraft.”
While NBCB’s mission remains dedicated to enabling safe and responsible paddling and environmental stewardship of our waterways for everyone, current distancing protocols make it impossible to involve anyone who isn’t a fully independent paddler in our on-water activities.  Thus, we cannot safely offer paddling at this time to the public, nor to Members who are not certified as Club “Official Paddlers” with the rescue certifications that designation includes.

When our season begins (when East River water temperature reaches 60 degrees) Official Paddlers will be allowed, while following safe distancing and equipment disinfection protocols, to paddle in groups of no more than 6 approved paddlers.  All other NBCB Safety Protocols apply.  Paddlers should be aware that some research shows the presence of the coronavirus in fecal matter, which suggests that exposure to CSOs might be particularly dangerous at this time.
Distancing guidelines and disinfection processes will be posted on our facilities and must be strictly followed.  Paddlers who do not follow these protocols risk losing paddling privileges. 
We look forward to the reopening of the City, and resumption of our regular programming including public paddling and member trips.  Until this becomes possible, we think it’s important that our volunteers (and that is one of the requirements of OP status) who work to run and organize trips for members and the public, are able to maintain their safety/rescue skills and stay active on the water.  In the meantime, the organization will continue to offer online programs, such as our Book Club and Nautical Crafts. We hope to expand these virtual gatherings in the near future.
We promise to update this policy as the pandemic and our ability to offer safe recreation and access to the open space of the waterways evolves. 

Your Community Boathouse In This Time of Pandemic

North Brooklyn Community Boathouse (aka North Brooklyn Boat Club) is, first and foremost, a community and we hope that all of you are safe and sound and have what you need to get through this difficult and uncharted stretch ahead.   We also support and are immensely grateful for the healthcare workers and others providing essential services during this time.  

For now – and we will re-assess as the situation evolves (including a follow-up announcement in the first week of May before the usual season start) – we are following CDC guidelines and statewide directives and cancelling all in-person programs and activities, including any paddling.  Some programs and gatherings will continue (and we hope more will develop) in virtual/remote modes and they will be announced through email and social media channels. 

There is information on our website about ways in which NBCB members and others in our community can find – and participate in delivering – support during the pandemic. 

Stay tuned, stay safe and we hope to see you all on the other side of this and on the water!

Upcoming Creek Life Events – Via Eventbrite

Join us for a canoe trips from Manhattan Avenue street end park to the end of Newtown Creek, exploring the changing scenery and observing the wildlife, ships, and infrastructure that make make up this historical waterway. We will be paddling in one of our 29′ canoes to provide the best group experience – no previous paddling experience required. Come dressed for the weather.

Spots on the canoe trip are limited and registration must be done on Eventbrite. We charge a nominal fee to help ensure attendance; if the ticket cost is a barrier please contact us. We reserve the right to cancel the trip for weather or other reasons, we will notify registrants at least 12 hours in advance.

These programs are made possible with generous support from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund and the Office of the New York State Attorney General and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Creek Life: Low Tide Birdwatching
Creek Life: Infrastructure of Newtown Creek
Creek Life: Ship Spotting on Newtown Creek
Creek Life: Low Tide Birdwatching (Rain Date)