Don’t Use the Beach!

Today the weather and my schedule aligned to take my new boat to the water. I’m fortunate to live near a public beach that also has a concrete boat launch for large craft on trailers and in the summer docks from which you can launch from. I like the beach for all the reasons you’d suspect.

As I finished my paddle and prepared to cart my boat back to the car, the park safety officer came over to say hello and tell me that they ( the park admin) don’t want people using the beach to launch kayaks from. Please use the boat ramp. I said the beach is actually safer for me and the boat because it’s not slippery with algae like the concrete ramp and I don’t like dragging the hull on the concrete.

He responded that it’s a liability issue. The parks dept says the boat ramp is where boats shall be launched from. “If you drown out there they don’t want you suing because you didn’t use the proper launch site.”

Have you ever heard anything so asinine? I don’t argue with municipal staff; it’s not worth it. I can see restricting launches while there are swimmers but it’s the middle of winter. I thanked him for the information and left.

Should I follow up with the parks dept and inquire if this is a real rule or just move on with my life? Honestly, having paddle craft launch at the safe ramp as motor boats seems more dangerous than using the beach.


I think it’s worth pursuing. I’d much prefer launching where your pic shows than any launch ramp I’ve ever had the displeasure of being subjected to. I’d want to read the specific regulation (is it intended for launching trailer boats) then contact the highest level of parks manager responsible. If need be, I try to find a sympathetic politician for assistance.


If I had a nickel for every time I almost slipped and fell while carrying a kayak at the edge of the boat ramp…oh it’s a liability issue alright…


Make the appeal that the launch is intended for wheeled launching and kayaks would interfere with trailered boats that are confined to using the launch. There is a greater chance a driver backing a trailered boat would not see the kayak, causing greater risk, confusion and possible injury. That as well as the logic of concrete bring more abrasive to the kayak which slides rather than rolling on tires, coupled with better footing while launching in sand might be convincing.


Ignore rules that lawyers make for their own benefit or CYA. Launch from the beach again


What beach? Town, NYS, ??? Location?

I’m good on my feet especially for my age. Trip on stuff on construction sites do a dance and save myself many times. Walk on 9" scaffold plank 30-50’ plus.

Got out of my kayak at Lido Beach concrete ramp. I was in 18" of water and took one step but went down HARD. Was with a group they were shocked I popped back up in a second. I did feel it a bit later.

Screw that guy ! I’d write and call a bunch of people. I’d ask to see the regulations. Should be online like most any code nowadays.

Letters or better yet emails they seem to sink everyone :joy::laughing:

Beach crowded with people maybe. Guy’s on a power trip.

Tell ok I’ll launch at ramp but tell him you’d like him telling you on the record so when you fall you can blame him.


Manorhaven Beach Park. Town of North Hempstead. I’ve been launching there for years. This is the first time anyone said anything about the boat.

During the Covid surge, the park was abandoned. My wife and I took the kids in the car, set up an umbrella in the parking lot and had lunch. A different safety officer came over and told us we couldn’t have an umbrella in the empty parking lot. They are more protective of this place during off season than during peak season between Memorial Day and Labor Day!


It depends.

The type of beach and difficulty of access to it makes the boat ramp a much better launch point at two places I go. The dirt “beach” is filled with zillions of other users and, worst of all, the paths to reach it are on switchbacking, narrow foot paths with steel rails on both sides. The entire thing must have been designed to discourage anything but foot traffic with, at most, extremely short boats. I mean WW and similar length. It would be literally impossible to cart or carry even a moderate-length crossover boat on those.

Two years ago I had a run-in with an officious seasonal worker. This guy was telling all paddlers (kayak, canoe, SUP) they were not allowed to use the boat ramp, which was not true. I knew those rules very well, as did other users. I talked to another paddler, whose first words were, “That guy’s an asshole! We had trouble with him last time, too.”

I noticed the same officious know-nothing ignoring people with dogs playing fetch on the ramp (not allowed, and the sign there explicitly stated that), and dogs running loose in the parking lot. Meanwhile, Know Nothing was kissing butt welcoming all the powerboaters. A Good For Nothing, too.

How I dealt with it: Contacted the Parks director and confirmed (in writing) that paddlers were, in fact, allowed to launch from either the ramp or the beach. Our choice, and the ramp was easier for most of us. I said the guy did not know the rules he was supposed to enforce. The director said they had heard complaints about him and would have a general staff meeting to make sure all knew the rules. They probably didn’t want to single out this jerk.

But whatever they did, it worked. That guy avoided eye contact with me from then on, and I never heard or saw him kicking paddlers out of the ramp area again.

BTW, I know what precipitated the guy’s misinformed actions. The previous year (2020, a.k.a. COVID hell), massive hordes of people from more states than I had ever seen there before descended. Some had powerboats, and the big crowds of SUPers tended to come in clusters and hog the ramp. Like taking 20 minutes to put their stuff ON the ramp, chitchat, futilely call their loose dogs, go to the bathroom AFTER putting gear on ramp instead of before, wait for their running-late friends. It was annoying to me but I didn’t complain. The entire year in this tourist-mobbed region was a giant ClFu matter what, so live with it. However, some of the powerboaters certainly complained.

BTW 2: I actually timed how long it took a typical powerboater to launch and how long it took me with my surf ski. Both times were similar. Mr. Know Nothing had claimed that paddlers took longer than powerboats, and I told him during our confrontation that I was just as quick as any powerboater and often faster. I also told the Park director the same thing.

Defend your reasonable use whenever and however you can! But don’t hog any place when it is crowded.


Nice hull congratulations :clap:

Drove over Meadowbrook bridge heading to Jones Beach I counted 6 seals on the two sides of the bridge in 5he seconds it took me to go over. I was mad I couldn’t be out there today it was flat. Easy to spot them.

Sounds as if there is a need to inform the municipality as to what are safer options for launching and getting out of paddle craft. Besides, while paddlers are using the boat ramp it prevents power boater from its use. In my home waters, the beach has a separate area to launch and paddle out from to keep you away from swimmers.

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Got kicked off the beach a couple of times by “Ranger Rick.” It’s infuriating since there is no explicit regulations prohibiting a beach launch, especially during the off-season, that I can find in the Department of Conservation and Recreation website. I told him that. But, Ranger Rick was insistent that I get off the beach and It’s battle that I was surely not going to win in that moment, me argueing with someone in uniform.

We have a change over in the state administration. Been think of contacting the head of Dept of Conservation and Recreation, once that position is appointed.


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Sometimes its easier to ask for forgiveness then getting permission!


Boat ramps are terrible for launching fiberglass or k/c kayaks.

Plus, injuries from slipping onto concrete can be severe. Shortly after the start of Covid restrictions, an infection I received from a boat ramp fall while launching a kayak had me in hospital for 5 days and luckily the IV antibiotics worked as infectious disease MD was ready to amputate below the knee if the infection did not respond. Sure glad it did.


In New York, the law is clear. If the water is “navigable in fact” and it is a public beach, you have the right to launch there.

The reasons are thus in NY: Commerce on the public waterways may not be interfered with…And recreation is, believe it or not, considered a form of commerce in NY State.

I would also politely point out to the parks official, that you have deemed the launch a risk/unsafe, being ill-maintained and if you were inclined to file suit at all; it would be because you were directed to use something that posed a hazard to both your well being and property.

Not to mention personal harassment.


If I were going to go all Barney Fife on you, I’d cite (emphasis added):

§ 39-31Bathing restricted.

It shall be unlawful for any person to bathe, wade, swim or enter into the waters adjacent to any Town park or beach except at such times and in such areas as are designated by the Commissioner.

§ 39-32Bathing hours and areas; warning siren.


The Commissioner shall designate the hours during which the use of a pool within a park is permitted. The Commissioner shall post notice of such hours at various places at such park facility for the convenience of the general public.


Bathing is prohibited except during daylight hours when the beaches are actually open to the public while lifeguards are in attendance in open lifeguarded areas only and shall be confined to the areas marked by buoys or signs. The beaches, premises and structures are closed to the public use at any other time.

Let’s not forget this one:
§ 39-20Conduct of patrons.

Every person shall conduct himself in an orderly manner and shall endeavor to cause no discomfort or inconvenience to any person or patron.

Odd turn of phrase. I guess back in the old days North Hempstead had a problem with residents being deprived of enough fiber in their diets? :slight_smile:

Our small city (Sandpoint, ID) sits on a large lake (Lake Pend Oreille). The city seems receptive to the needs of kayakers.
Sandpoint’s City Beach has 2 parallel boat ramps close together. Between the 2 ramps is an area especially nice for kayak launching. Kayakers may also use the boat ramps which are not slippery.
There is another launch area at Memorial Field on Pend Oreille River. It was recently refurbished by the city and included an area specifically for launching kayaks and other small boats.
Every early June, the city sponsors the ‘Sandcreek Challenge’ which caters to small boats especially kayaks. The race starts/ends at the City Beach boat ramp area.

So you bought a boat in Harley-Davidson colors and now you’re wondering why folks in uniforms are harassing you?


The doo rag and chaps didn’t help either.


I don’t know how these things go in “Mayberry” but NY law supersedes town ordinances. Unless the town of Hempstead is specifying he cannot cross what is clearly marked as their private property without permission (and provided he is not launching into a their swimming pool/town lake)–He cannot be hindered from launching into a river, bay, sound or the ocean in New York State, especially as he is neither swimming nor wading.

Property(land) can be owned around and even under the water…But nobody can “own” the public waterways belonging to all the people of the Empire State.

Oh and btw: What do you think the code/regulations were in the days before a boat launch was even installed there?

I think it is pretty clear from reading the town code that the town owns the park and has specific regulations on the time place and manner of permissible use. Under state law you may be able to navigate on the water but no right to put a boat in the water on privately owned land, in this case owned by the town. Hence the town’s regulations for when the park and beach may be used. I walk into the water deep enough for the boat to float, somewhere over my ankles. That is considered wading.

I cited that code as one which the subject park safety officer might use if they were inclined to write a summons to appear. I could not find one that said the OP was prohibited from launching at the beach nor one that said he was required to use the ramp. That’s the closest fit I could find.