NYC Paddling

I was looking something up for a friend when I stumbled upon this page. With the exception of the Sebago & Touring Clubs, this looks like a pretty complete overview of the opportunities in NYC. Too cold now though.


Hey, Lou
That’s an old article, I believe. Notice it encourages you to paddle to the Statue of Liberty - try that now and you’re likely to get arrested. Ever since 9-11 you’re not allowed to get anywhere near it. Still, I’ve been dying to paddle around Manhattan ever since I got my first boat.

Here’s a page with lots of Manhattan circumnavigation trip reports - great fun to read.

Maybe one of these days we’ll get up a Long Island contingent to go around - it takes about nine hours…

Not quite
You can still paddle to the statue, and we do regularly (or at least paddle by her on the way somewhere else). You just need to stay outside the white marker buoys. And they do mean it, even if they don’t fine you, you will at least get a stern lecture if you go inside them. It’s true, you can no longer land on the island, but you can sure get close enough to take a good photo, if you’re so inclined.

I liked the article, old or not. It mixed just the right amount of caution with a nice description for the pleasures of urban paddling.


Manhattan circumnavigation
I circumnavigated Manhattan last summer with a large group.

Just under nine hours total, about two hours of rest stops to wait for the tides to change.

A very long day.

You Guys Looked Pretty Close

I’ve Always thought it was beyond me
With all the mega boats and really strong currents, it never sounded like beginner territory to me. Is it 9 hours non-stop?


Not non-stop
Bruce Takerta’s link posted above provides some good information on timing.

Basically it is three stints of about 2-1/2 hours each of non-stop paddling with two rest breaks of about an hour each.

I had been paddling for about a year when I did it last year. As you can tell from the pictures, it was not an idyllic summer day. That trip definately marked my transition from “beginner” to “well that didn’t kill me”.

Nice pics, MJ
Thanks for posting them. What group was that? Looks like a nice bunch of folks. Do you do Manhattan often?

I can’t take credit
for the pictures. They are a collective posting of pictures taken by many of the participants.

That particular event was an ochestrated “spontanious” gathering of interesting kayakers (that is, nobody wanted to take responsibility for the event.)

This was my first time around. At the finish I was of the opinion that I never needed to do that again, but am now willing to consider it. This group was too large (35 boats if I recall) and the conditions too unpleasant. If I go around again it will be with a smaller group on a nicer day.

Manhattan circs happen relatively frequently. Bruce Takerta’s site seems to be the best source.

The group that initiated things last summer has since splintered, but most of the players can be found on one or both of these sites:

Statue of Liberty
If you are interested in paddling “near” the Statue of Liberty it is not necessary to venture too far out into NY Harbor.

You can put in at Liberty State Park in New Jersey and paddle in the relatively protected waters of the unnamed bay behand her. You need to be careful of the tourist boats.

That’s a cool idea

The current issue of Sea Kayaker magazine has an article profiling the owner of the Manhattan Kayak Club - I can’t remember his name, but he’s the one who wrote the book about circumnavigating Australia. The article was good press for NYC kayaking.

(The next article was on kayaking in Belize, which I have added to my long list of kayaking dream trips!)

Was that the group
that irritated the tug captains because they were spread so randomly across the East River? We were worried about that creating some random legislation, but fortunately nothing ever came of it.


Well, yes and no
There was one report from one barge driver claiming that he was somehow impeeded. It is not apparent that there was actually any real problem created for him, other than his initial surprise at seeing so many small boats on the river.

However, the group was too large, and got too strung out. Too wide a range of paddler speeds and abilities.

my post sounded a bit harsh, but I"m getting back from work too late these days. I do hearing about that huge group, and it caused quite a bit of buzz on some of the NY listservs.

If the tides are timed right, a circumnav can seem effortless. We’ve come whipping around the battery at 8 knots while barely paddling. It’s also nice to paddle out to the LI Sound. I’ve done that a few times and love it when you get under the last bridge and the whole sound just opens up in front of you.

See you on the water sometime.


Didn’t seem harsh at all
but then I can be pretty dense at times.

How about a circ this summer? Just need to keep the group size managable.

size and skill
I love the idea of meeting paddlers from this board (especially so close to home), but I’m a bit wary about doing a circumnav with strangers. Maybe a day paddle north or south first? We paddle off pier 63, which is W. Side Hwy and 23rd St., just north of Chelsea Piers. It’s without a doubt the best place in Manhattan to launch from (by which I mean there’s a changing room, bathroom, great outdoor bar & grill, nice people, fairly stable dock, & parking). Let’s talk (type) more about this when the river thaws.