Kayakers Guide to New York Harbor


Many thousands of people should be able to go kayaking on New York Harbor on a nice summer day. But in order for this to happen several safety issues have to be addressed, including educating large numbers of beginner boaters about what can be a challenging physical environment.

This page contains a link to a “Kayaker’s Guide to New York Harbor”. This free guide is a 12MB PDF that was last updated in Feb/2019. The guide does not address how to kayak, where to go, what to bring, or the rules and regulations that pertain to boating. All of these issues are dealt with elsewhere. Instead it introduces the various components of New York Harbor that are relevant to kayakers.

More than thirty topics are covered. These include temperature, wind, fog, water quality, shipwrecks, ferries, security zones, beaches, and tidal currents. The intention is not to tell kayakers everything that they need to know, but rather to make them think about the harbor in all its complexity.


This guide is part of a larger effort to make a safe harbor that works for all users, including beginner kayakers. Ideally, some organization with more resources than I will take over this guide and expand upon it. All sources used are listed at the rear of the document.

This guide is written as a PDF, but it might be best if it was some sort of multi-dimensional smartphone application that incorporated lots of up-to-date safety information. I lack the resources, or the time, to make such an application. If somebody else wants to take this task on, go for it.

If I have left anything out, or you have comments, please let me know.

Graeme Birchall