Kayak Resources

North Brooklyn Community Boathouse kayak trips are led by nationally certified kayak guides. All boats & equipment are provided. Our priorities are safety, fun and education.

There are three levels of skills & difficulty: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.

Be prepared to demonstrate the skills listed below. Participation is always at the discretion of the trip leaders and based on best practices of safety for yourself and the group.

FAQ

What to wear & bring for a kayak trip
Skills to join a beginner trip
Skills to join an intermediate trip
Skills to join an advanced trip
Trip Cancellations: Lightning, Wind & CSO.
Our No-Show Policy.

Use NBCB Boats and Gear on My Own
Volunteer as a Kayak Deckhand.
Volunteer as a Kayak Trip Assistant.
Volunteer as a Kayak Trip Leader.

Places to get training by ACA Instructors
Winter Paddling Safety Requirements.
Personal Boat Storage Requiements
Who is the Kayak Steering Committee and how can I email them?
ACA Reimbursement after volunteering as a Trip Leader or Instructor

Back to Top

WHAT TO WEAR & BRING

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 sports 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)

 

Back to Top

BEGINNER KAYAK SKILLS

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.

Back to Top

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

  • Set up your own boat & gear including spray skirt, paddle and feet pegs
  • Get in and out of the kayak unassisted
  • Demonstrate a wet exit on land or preferably in the water
  • Understand skegs and rudders
  • Perform forward and reverse strokes, turns, and a stop in three
  • Draw and ruddering strokes
  • Paddle at a moderate pace for at least 60 minutes without a break

Back to Top

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

  • Self-rescue & towing
  • 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

Back to Top

TRIP CANCELLATIONS:

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

NYC CSO Release Interactive Map

Marine Forecast & Conditions

Back to Top

BECOMING A VOLUNTEER KAYAK DECKHAND WITH NBCB

Volunteering as a kayak deckhand is a great way to get started on building skills and perhaps working your way to trip assistant or even trip leader. We ask you to be an intermediate kayaker and are willing to learn the skills below. Experienced volunteers at NBCB can teach you all you need to know. And ask about possible upcoming training workshops.

Email the kayak committee for more info.

Deckhands 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
  • How to help if there is a capsize or other emergencies
  • Towing (both a contact tow [grabbing bow] and in line towing)
  • Lead and sweep, gather and stop signals
  • Basic local knowledge (shipping lanes, ferry stops, landmarks, eddies/resting spots, rules of the road)

Back to Top

BECOMING A TRIP ASSISTANT WITH NBCB

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

All trip assistants must be assessed by NBCB Trip Leaders and it is recommended, but not required to be ACA (a national kayak safety organization) Level 2 or BCU equivalent assessed. 
Please visit the ACA website to find instructors.

Email the kayak committee for more info.

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)

Back to Top

BECOMING A TRIP LEADER WITH NBCB

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:

PROCESS AND QUALIFICATIONS

  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 NBCB Local Knowledge test
  4. Assist on five NBCB 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 NBCB trip leaders and at least two of the co-led trips must be on the East River).

Co-leading means a NBCB 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

WINTER PADDLING POLICY

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 NBCB workshops or approved paddles)

WINTER PADDLER SKILLS
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.

Back to Top

Back to Top
DO YOU PROVIDE BOAT STORAGE?
We have very limited storage and most of it is provided for membership shared boats and gear.

On occasion a storage spot may open up. You may apply for kayak storage if both are met:

  1. You have worked to become a NBCB Kayak Guide (see above for skills and experience requirements)
  2. AND – have Run 15 NBCB kayak events within one calendar year.

1 event- Intermediate or Advanced paddle, Kayak safety class
Counts as 2 events – Beginner paddle, Winter paddle, Manhattan Circ

15 events every calendar year is required to maintain  boat storage.  If multiple applicants – those with the most volunteer events will be given priority. All events must be verified in the event calendar database. Cancelled events do not count.

 

Back to Top

WHO ARE THE KAYAK STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS AND HOW CAN I CONTACT THEM?

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.

Back to Top

KAYAK ACA CERTIFICATION COURSE REIMBURSEMENT POLICY

At its discretion, NBCB 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. You must show that you yourself paid for the instruction:

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

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.