North Brooklyn Community Boathouse Canoe trips are listed at three skill levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.
These three levels are to keep you (and others) safe and guide you to a paddle that you’ll find fun, safe, and enjoyable. For whatever level trip you sign up for, be prepared to demonstrate any of the skills listed to the trip leader or trip assistant upon request. These are guidelines only, and participation is at the discretion of the trip leaders and what they feel is safe for the group, the individual paddler, and the water conditions.
Unsafe conditions such as lightning, high winds, or CSO (raw sewage release in Newtown Creek) will cancel a trip. If you are signed up for a trip and worried it might be canceled, be sure to check your e-mail before coming to the boatyard.
What to Wear and Bring
Life jackets (personal flotation devices or PFDs) will be provided and worn by all paddlers. Dress for getting wet. Canoes are low to the water, and some or all of you may get wet. Wear quick-dry clothes. NO COTTON on cool-weather paddles. Depending on the weather, you might want to bring protective clothes (windbreaker, rain jacket, fleece, etc.) in a dry bag.
- Wear old sneakers or sport sandals
- Sunglasses or a sun hat
- A large water bottle (you can fill it at the boatyard)
- A snack for river trips
- Waterproof camera and binoculars if you have them
- Waterproof case for your phone (or leave on land)
- No previous canoe experience.
Beginners will start out in our large war canoes or partner up with experienced members paddling in the bow of our two- or three-person canoes.
We would like to meet you and assess your skill level in person, no matter your previous experience, so please sign up for one of our all-level “Beginner” trips if you haven’t paddled with NBCB before. These trips, such as the bird-watching or skills and drills paddles, are fun for everyone and the best way to start out with us.
Beginners should look at the Intermediate Paddlers skills list to see what to practice or learn.
Can prepare and control their canoe without help, including:
- Choose proper paddle and PFD
- Set up lights and launch canoes
- Use paddle signals
- Know standard safety protocols
- J Stroke (stern a canoe)
- Draws and sweeps
- Synchronized tandem paddling, steering, and back paddling
- Paddle (trim and ferry) in moderate wind, waves, and currents
- Paddle at a moderate pace 2-4 hours
Have mastered the Intermediate Paddlers skills as well as the following:
- Canoe rescue
- Marine radio use
- Current and tide tables
- Weather knowledge (including lightning procedure, wind, CSO)
- Basic nautical rules and local knowledge
- Paddle (trim and ferry) in brisk wind, waves, and currents
- Paddle at a solid pace for 3-5 hours (or more)
- Beach or shoreline landing and launch
- Understand how to prevent hypo- and hyperthermia
Our Favorite Canoeing Videos
See Bill Mason do this thing on our video page.