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.


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A lot of people ask us what we need, and the answer is always the same: We need people! The Boathouse is an all-volunteer organization and our programs work only because people commit to making them work. You don't need any training or scheduling to start, just introduce yourself any of our locations and we can put you to work right away. Please be over 18 and know how to swim.

Active volunteers will have opportunities to advance their own paddling skills through a number of training sessions, and those who have undergone the proper instruction are encouraged to use the Boathouse's decked kayaks and take advantage of volunteer trips throughout the season. Over time and with the proper instruction volunteers will gain the skills required to lead trips and teach classes for the public.