The Downtown Boathouse

Promoting Public Access To The Water For All

The Downtown Boathouse is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free public access to the harbor in New York City through public kayaking programs. Our mission is to encourage safe public use of the harbor waters of New York City and thereby provide residents of this space-constrained city with increased recreational opportunities. Our operations are made possible exclusively through volunteers and with your public donations.


Free Trips

On select Saturday, Sunday and holiday mornings, we run a free three-hour trip on the open Hudson River for the more ambitious members of our community. Trips leave at 8:00 AM from Pier 96. As with all of our public programs, these trips are run by experienced volunteers.  Check our calendar page to confirm a trip is on for a particular date. 

 Previous paddling experience in our walk-up public programs is a must for these trips. Prior to departure, the trip leader will assess participants' basic skills to ensure that everyone is prepared for the outing.

Please arrive equipped for a day on the water. We recommend:

  • Swimwear or quick-drying clothing (no jeans)
  • Water
  • Snacks

For the safety of the group, there is a limit on how many people can go on each trip. In the event that attendance exceeds the capacity, participants will be chosen at random by lottery.   All trip participants must be over 18 years of age, know how to swim, wear a lifejacket and sign our waiver.

Trip itineraries depend on the tides and the weather on the day.