The North Brooklyn Community Boathouse, Inc. (North Brooklyn Boat Club) stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and against systemic racism and police brutality. We support the demands for justice for Black and Indigenous communities and all communities of color.
NBCB is dedicated to building a diverse and inclusive paddling community that is also an effective force for the ecological stewardship of our harbor and estuary. We acknowledge that there is much more that our organization can do to attain these goals. We must reflect on our structure, priorities, and programs and ultimately move beyond diversity and inclusion to work that helps bring justice and better lives to the communities we serve. We acknowledge that the historical legacy of segregated outdoor recreational activities persists in the boating community, and we will work to counter it.
We commit to ongoing discussions facilitated by our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee about the role of our organization in addressing issues of race, privilege, equity, justice, and the environment. The goal is to develop tangible antiracist actions that we can take as an organization to improve our own practices and positively affect our communities, the neighborhood, and NYC. We invite all interested members and neighborhood residents to join us. We pledge to seek out communities that have been especially cut off from access to and connection with the local waterways and to center Black and Indigenous communities and communities of color in our outreach and programming. Please watch our website and e-mail newsletter or contact email@example.com to get involved.
As a community group dedicated to environmental justice, we join our partners at the Newtown Creek Alliance, the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, and others in demanding a drastic reallocation of the City budget to benefit Black communities and communities of color by providing services such as education, health care, housing, pollution mitigation, and green jobs.
The North Brooklyn Community Boathouse wants to be the community boathouse for all those affected by and connected to our urban waterways. We have always tried to provide celebration and joy as well as historical, cultural, and ecological information. We look forward to working together to create and enjoy more accessible and healthier waterways and a better, fairer world.
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.
In 2019, NBBC furthered our mission by making our Public Paddle series even more public. For the first time, we launched all of our Public Paddles from MASE Park. Going into the season — our first in exile from our boatyard as we await construction of a permanent community boathouse — we were all nervous about what the season would bring and whether we could continue to reach our community and help our neighbors see that the waters of NYC don’t belong only to those who use them for industry or who are wealthy enough to afford their own boats. But thanks to the generous support of the NYC Parks Department, we brought more people than ever before out on Newtown Creek in our fleet of grant-funded Langley canoes!
Public Paddle, May 11, 2019
From MASE Park, the northern end of Greenpoint’s main street, we were able to make our presence known to people who would not have found us in the boatyard. Our Public Paddles became more public than ever, and soon our volunteers had the set-up and breakdown mastered.
Volunteers ready for the Public Paddle, May 25, 2019
Thanks to Parks and GCEF, we created community events throughout the paddling season, providing food, fellowship, and adventure and talking about the living history and ecology of Newtown Creek and the entire estuary. Plus, we were able to provide a little instruction on paddling canoes!
Learning the moves! Public Paddle, June 1, 2019
The waters are cooling now, and the days are growing short. The 2019 paddling season is just about over. But NBBC is looking forward to 2020 and to continuing our mission: bringing the people of North Brooklyn and NYC in general out on their home waters and sharing with them the gift of connecting with those waters and reclaiming them for ourselves and for the future.
Public Paddle, June 1, 2019
Plus, it’s just fun!
NBBC wants to thank GCEF and Parks for all they have done for our mission — and we hope to see you all on the water in 2020!