Kayak Resources

North Brooklyn Boat Club kayak trips are listed at three levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. These levels are designed to keep you (and others) safe and guide you to a paddle that you’ll find fun and enjoyable.

For whatever level trip you sign up for, be prepared to demonstrate any skills listed to the trip leader or trip assistant upon request. The skills below are recommendations only, and participation is at the discretion of the trip leaders and what they feel is safe for the group, the individual, and the water conditions.


Why trips might get canceled.
What should I wear & bring for a kayak trip?
How to become a Volunteer Trip Assistant.
How to become a Volunteer Trip Leader.
What skills do I need to join a beginner trip?
What skills do I need to join an intermediate trip?
What skills do I need to join an advanced trip?
Do you offer boat storage?
Places to get training
Going Winter Paddling.
Dry Suit Storage Policy.
Who is the Kayak Steering Committee and how can I email them?
ACA Reimbursement after volunteering as a Trip Leader or Instructor

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Unsafe conditions such as Lightning, High Winds or CSO (raw sewage release) will cancel a trip.

Learn about CSO

Marine Forecast & Conditions

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Life jackets (personal flotation devices or PFDs) will be provided and must be worn by all paddlers. Dress for getting wet.  Kayaks are low to the water, and some or all of you will get wet. Wear quick-dry clothes.  NO COTTON: it  gets heavy when wet and will make you chilly in cooler air temps. 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
  • A waterproof paddle top or rain jacket
  • Waterproof pants or paddle pants
  • In cooler temps wear wet suits or dry suits
  • Sunglasses and a sun hat
  • Snacks and a water bottle (you can fill it at the boatyard)
  • Sunscreen
  • Waterproof camera and binoculars
  • Waterproof case for your phone (or leave it on land)


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No previous kayak experience is required.

Beginners will start out on sit-on-tp kayaks and progress to decked kayaks at the discretion of the trip leader.

Beginners should look at the Intermediate skills list to see what to practice or learn.

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INTERMEDIATE PADDLERS should be able to prepare and paddle their kayak without assistance, including:

  • Adjust foot pegs
  • Choose a spray skirt, PFD, and paddle
  • Demonstrate a wet exit on land
  • Understand how a skeg or rudder is used
  • Perform forward and reverse strokes, a turn, and a stop
  • Paddle at a moderate pace for at least 60 minutes without a break

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ADVANCED PADDLERS have mastered Intermediate paddler skills as well as the following:

  • Self-rescue
  • Draw and ruddering strokes
  • Marine radio use
  • Current and tide tables
  • Weather knowledge (including lightning procedure, wind, CSO)
  • Basic nautical rules and local knowledge
  • Paddle at a moderate pace four hours or more
  • Launch from or land on a beach or rocky shoreline
  • Understand how to prevent hypo- and hyperthermia

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Since NBBC has very limited storage, we don’t have the capacity to provide boat storage at this time.

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Trip assisting is a great way to give back to the community.

We recommend all assistants be assessed at ACA Level 2 or receive some rescue training. Please visit training page to find instructors and talk to kayak trip leaders about assisting on their trips.

Trip assistants should be able to demonstrate the following skills:

  • Communication
  • Awareness of the environment, whether water, weather, or people
  • Positive and pleasant demeanor
  • Knowledge of equipment set-up, and care
  • Marine radio use (channels for traffic, emergency, and general chatter; security calls responses to commercial vessels)
  • How to help if there is a capsize or other emergencies
  • Towing (both a contact tow [grabbing bow] and in line tow)
  • Lead and sweep, gather and stop signals
  • Basic local knowledge (shipping lanes, ferry stops, landmarks, eddies/resting spots, rules of the road)

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Without our volunteer trip leaders, we wouldn’t be able to provide our members with the amazing experience of kayaking around Brooklyn and New York City. If you are interested in becoming a trip leader please talk to current kayak trip leaders and reach out to the kayak committee at nbbckayak@gmail.com with any questions. We outline our basic guidelines below:


  1. Fill out a Trip Leader application
  2. Pass the ACA Level 2: Essentials of Kayak Touring Trip Leader training (L2: EKTTL). See this PDF for details
  3. Pass NBBC Local Knowledge test
  4. Assist on five NBBC kayak trips
  5. Co-lead at least three kayak trips (These trips must run with at least one trip assistant and three participants. Trip leaders in training must be evaluated by at least two NBBC trip leaders and at least two of the co-led trips must be on the East River).

Co-leading means a NBBC trip leader oversees and supervises a trip leader in training who will:

  • Create a float plan
  • Post the event on the calendar
  • Evaluate all potential paddlers’ skill level for trip participation
  • Execute the trip (set-up and clean-up)

NOTE: All applicants for trip leader are subject to final approval by the Kayak Committee.

Please contact the Kayak Committee with any questions: nbbckayak@gmail.com

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Training in the area:

Brooklyn Kayak Guides

Atlantic Kayak Tours

Manhattan Kayak

Downtown Boathouse

Tuktu Paddles

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Cold weather paddling is when water and air temperatures combined are less than 120 degrees or the water is less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

When kayaking in winter conditions:

  • 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)

1. Kayak Skills for Winter Paddlers: You must be an intermediate to advanced paddler.

2. Paddlers must demonstrate how to properly dress for winter kayaking.

3. Paddlers must demonstrate that they understand the risks associated with winter kayaking and how to prevent hypothermia.


You are welcome to store your drysuit at the boatyard if you are OK with others using it. Please only store these in container 2.

If you prefer to NOT share your drysuit, please take it home with you.

If you do store and share your personal dry suit or other gear, NBBC assumes no responsibility for damage, loss, or repair.

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Is a group of volunteers dedicated to giving time and work to keep the kayak programming moving forward. Contact us if you would like to contribute your time.
Contact us.

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At its discretion, NBBC may reimburse course fees (not travel, lodging or other incidental expenses) for ACA Kayak Trip Leader and L2+ Kayak Instructor certification for members who apply their certified skills to club programs as described below:

  • Kayak Trip Leaders may apply for course fee reimbursement after leading 5 NBBC trips as a volunteer.
  • Kayak L2+ Instructors may apply for course fee reimbursement after teaching 2 ACA L2+ NBBC certification courses as a volunteer.

Please let the Kayak committee know when you are planning to take a reimbursable course to confirm that, in fact, the club is in a position to reimburse for that certification. You are responsible for keeping a record of your volunteer fulfillment. When you have delivered the minimum requirements, e-mail a list of the courses/trips you led and a PDF copy of your course-fee receipt to the Kayak Committee.