A Plea for Boater Caution
Boating in NYC can be a fantastic way to "get away" just minutes from our crowded shores. However, you need to know what you are doing. In NYS, you don't need a license to engage in recreational boating which means you can't be sure that a recreational boater knows what he or she is doing. We recommend taking boating classes. If nothing else, we encourage you to remember some safety concepts and share them with your friends:
- Know the rules of the road. Sailboats do NOT always have right of way; Coast Guard Navigation Rule 9 explains this.
- If in doubt as to who has right of way, play it safe and get out of the way of large commercial vessels. They generally have right of way since they can't move out of narrow channels; and if you collide with them, you will lose.
- Barges can be out of sight behind tugs while being towed on long cables. Do not cut close behind a tug, especially not at night, if you don't know how to read the towing lights that indicate if, and how, the tug is towing another vessel.
- While fishing, do not anchor in the channel; do not tie up to navigational aids.
- Carry a VHF marine radio and wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD).
NYC Waterfront Access points
Access hours and rules will vary due to the welter of owners of the waterfront parks. Note that many of the new, large waterfront "parks' are not run by the Parks Department (Hudson River Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Governors Island for example), and many waterfront public spaces are on private property. In our neighborhood of Red Hook, two well-known examples of the latter are the Erie Basin Park at IKEA and the esplanade on the O'Connell property that runs from the Beard Street Pier, past the Fairway Cafe and Museum Barge to a small park and ends along Pier 41. Less well known is that the Atlantic Basin complex (a waterspace and a lot of asphalt) on Port Authority property, where PortSide NewYork and our tanker MARY A. WHALEN are located as of 5/29/15, is also publicly accessible.
- The Department of City Planning has assembled a great interactive database of access points to the waterfront with photos, descriptions of what you can do there, directions etc. Get it here.
- NYC Parks Boating & Marinas and their facilities map
- NYC Water Trail map launch sites for human-powered boats
- NYC Water Trail "Shared Waters" chart shows degree of mixed harbor traffic
- New York Harbor Beaches - a mapping project
- Swimming the Hudson - a Riverkeeper report
The North River is an alternate name for the southernmost portion of the Hudson River in the vicinity of New York City and northeastern New Jersey.
More PortSide bluespace reporting & testimony
Our webpage Advocacy
Safe Boating Info
- Safe Boating near commercial traffic, info from the Tug+Barge industry,
- I Boat NY Harbor created by Ed Bacon, an NYC sailboat charter captain, has info on safe Boat Handling, Tides + Currents, planning your route, + more.
- Boating safety quiz
- NYS Boating Regulations (note the "zero tolerance" for alcohol)
- Fall 2010,Coast Guard "Proceedings" Magazine, Recreational Boating Issue
- Boating Safety Resource Center, Coast Guard
- VHF marine radio tips from the Coast Guard
- NOAA Chart of New York harbor #12327
Marine Weather, Tides, Tips
- NOAA weather at various buoys: northeast map, NY buoys, Ambrose
- NOAAforecast for NYC area
- Tide info for New York area from Tides4Fishing
- NOAA GIS mapping portal
- US Coast Guard NY website
- Preparing boats, marinas for hurricanes a 12 page guide from Boat US
- Knots - animated illustrations by Grog make learning easier
Though local waters are much cleaner, often clean enough to swim, many fish accumulate poisons in their system and are not good to eat on a regular basis. There are ways to protect yourself in terms of you clean and cook the fish, and knowing which fish to avoid eating.
recommended bluespace blogs
H2O Blogs (Excerpted from Tugster)
- a NYHarbor Shipping Cooperative
- adventures of the blackgang
- artemis ocean rowing
- Atlantic Yachting
- best shipping news
- bitter end
- boatbuilding with burnham
- bob easton boatbuilding
- bowsprite recommended
- cape ann images
- cape race
- cold is the sea
- deep water writing
- desert sea
- diesel duck
- el mar
- Euro Inland Waterway Shipping
- eye on the basin
- fish tugs
- fremont tugboat
- frogma recommended
- gcaptain recommended
- goodmorning gloucester
- gypsy pirate wench
- hawse piper
- Henry’s Obsession recommended
- hudson river explorer
- indigenous boats
- kennebec captain
- auke visser’s tanks
- boatyard ruins
- ship building history
- nautic expo
- seaport museum
- tugboat enthusiasts society
- tug pegasus preservation project
- waterfront museum
- about tankers
Images courtesy Christina Sun/Bowsprite