Kayak, Canoe and Boat Launch Application Rules and Recommendations

The success of the City's boat launches — both for hand-powered and non-hand-powered craft alike — is dependent upon our safety record. To assure compliance with safety requirements, the City requires a permit for the use of all City kayak and canoe as well as power and sailboat launch facilities. Permits may be obtained by mail or in person for a fee of $15.00 at the following permit offices:

1 Bronx River Parkway
Bronx, NY 10462
(718) 430-1848

Hours: Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Litchfield Villa
95 Prospect Park West
Prospect Park
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 965-8912

Hours: Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Arsenal
830 Fifth Avenue and Central Park
New York, NY 10065
(212) 360-8133

Hours: Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Passerelle Building
(across from outdoor Tennis Courts)
(718) 393-7272 

Hours: Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Staten Island
Greenbelt Recreation Center
501 Brielle Ave
Staten Island, NY 10314
(718) 667-3545 x313 or 312

Hours: Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Download the Kayak, Canoe, and Boat Launch Application

It is important that you read the following conditions and rules carefully. Issuance of this permit is based on your affirmation that you have read the conditions and rules and that you understand and agree to abide by them. You alone are responsible for your own safety and that of your passengers.

Failure to abide by these conditions and rules shall lead to revocation of the permit.

Launch Locations

Power and Sailboats

Parks allows power and sailboat launching only at the following facilities and only at the free public launch sites, as marked by NYC Parks signage:

  • World's Fair Marina, Flushing Bay, Queens – (718) 478-0480
  • Bayside Marina, Little Neck Bay, Queens – (718) 229-0097
  • Lemon Creek, Prince's Bay, Staten Island – (718) 605-1301

Power and sailboat launching at other NYC Parks marinas is subject to applicable fees and permits.

Kayaks and Canoes

Kayaks, canoes, and other hand-powered vessels may launch at all NYC Parks-designated launch sites, as long as the vessel's operator has a permit.

Power and sailboats may not launch at kayak/canoe launch sites.


Learn more about our harbor water, including water quality reporting and current waterbody advisories from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection.

The City now provides a best practices guide to promote public access to human-powered boating.  This document will be updated to reflect input from site managers and the boating community as implemented, and to reflect future changes.

Safety Recommendations

You must be familiar with and obey all federal, state and local boating rules and regulations. These include but are not limited to:

  • All vessels are subject to safety inspection at any time by any federal, state, or local authorities.
  • All persons aboard a hand-powered craft must wear Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) at all times. It is recommended that all persons aboard power and sailboats wear PFDs at all times. Vessels must be equipped with at least one PFD per passenger.
  • Both a sound-producing device such as a small air horn or loud whistle-and a distress flag or flare or flashlight should be carried in case of an emergency.
  • All vessels must obey the Rules of the Road. These include, but are not limited to:
  • When two vessels are on a collision course in a crossing situation, the vessel on the right has the right of way.
  • Vessels without mechanized power have the right of way, but smaller vessels must yield to larger vessels that do not have the same maneuverability. These include sludge carrying ships, oil tankers and barges and any large commercial vessel. It is also wise to yield to fast-moving powerboats. A vessel being overtaken should maintain its speed and direction.
  • A vessel overtaking another should stay clear of the craft being overtaken.
  • In any case, take whatever action is necessary to avoid the collision.
  • Federal and state regulations prohibit mooring, that is, tying up to navigation aids such as channel markers and buoys except under emergency conditions.
  • Negligent or grossly negligent operation of a recreational craft that endangers lives or property is not permitted. Examples of negligent operation include:
    • Operating a vessel in a swimming area.
    • Operating a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
    • Permitting passengers to ride on the bow, seatbacks or gunwales.
  • Because this is a water-use program, landing on any lands or shoreline or islands, other than a launch site or designated dock, is not allowed, except in an emergency.
  • Use up-to-date navigational charts of the water, tidal current charts, tide tables, and consult the Local National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather station. In addition, check your local newspapers for weather and general tide information.
  • It is much safer to travel with companions.
  • Always carry an additional means of propulsion, whether it is a paddle or oar when operating a hand-powered craft. Sailing vessels should be equipped with an auxiliary engine.
  • Never carry more persons than recommended by the manufacturer for the capacity of your vessel.
  • When either air or water temperatures are cold, it is advisable to wear an exposure (dry) suit when operating a hand-powered craft.
  • Because the shoreline can accumulate broken glass, rusted metal and other hazardous objects, passengers and operators alike should all wear foot covering when getting in and out of vessels.
  • Be aware that derelict cars, old boats and rotting pilings may be submerged in many of the shoreline areas. In addition, be on the alert for people fishing from bridges, unexpected approaching speedboats, and construction or repair activities.
  • Operators should be trained in first aid and know how to deal with hypothermia.
  • You should leave a detailed trip plan with your family or friends. Trip plans describe the trip you are planning to take in your vessel and lists anyone who is travelling with you.

Read the Rules and Regulations for Kayaks & Canoes

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