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CALL US: (1-800-Kayak-99)
AKA (1-800-529-2599)
212-924-1327

FAQ

Q?

Is kayaking a social activity?

A.

It takes some paddlers a while to be comfortable enough to talk and paddle at the same time, but many kayakers like to chat as they paddle. It is common for paddlers to go for a bite to eat after a class or tour.

Q?

What if I’m visiting from out of town?

A.

Out-of-towners are welcome to take classes and tours. We just need to make sure you’re up to the class or tour before we send you out there.

Q?

Do I need any special gear?

A.

Included is all the gear you’ll need – kayak or stand up paddleboard (SUP), paddle, personal flotation device (PFD), and safety gear. As your paddling progresses, you may want to buy your own gear to be more comfortable or more specialized gear to improve your performance. Our store offers a selection at competitive prices.

Q?

What time should I arrive?

A.

Times on the calendar are class start time and tour departure times.

For classes, arrive 15 minutes ahead of the start of the class.*

For tours, arrive 45 minutes to an hour ahead of departure.* DO NOT ARRIVE LATE. Tours are planned for optimal currents and tides.

*If you need to change your clothes, buy eyeglass retainers or something else in the store, or to lock up items, arrive another 15 to 20 minutes earlier.

Q?

How much does it cost?

A.

Scheduled classes and tours are $50/hour, so our 2-hour programs cost $100 and 3-hour programs cost $150. Private classes and tours are available by appointment for $100/hours for the first person and $50/hour for each additional person, with a 2 hour minimum.

We offer a 10% discount for an advance purchase 5 or more hours of programming per person, and you can save 20% on 10 hours of classes & tours.

Q?

Do you rent kayaks or SUP’s?

A.

No, with one exception -- our Club members have privileges for unsupervised use of our kayaks.

Why not rent? Three aspects of the NYC waterways mandates that paddlers have either technical paddling skills or supervision by people who possess those skills:

  • A seawall surrounds most of Manhattan. This limits a paddler’s opportunities for getting out of the water and on land. There is no beach and no shallow water.
  • There are strong tidal currents. These present a significant force against or with a paddler’s course. The water moves at nearly 2 knots per hour during the flood tide and 3 knots per hour during the ebb tide.
  • The New York Harbor, and Hudson and East Rivers are busy commercial waterways.

There are swift-moving water taxis, tugs pushing heavy barges, and multi-story tall cruise ships, to name a few. Paddlers must abide by the nautical rules of the road.

With adequate preparation, the hazards posed by these conditions are manageable. Without it, you are a risk to yourself and others.

Q?

How is this different than the “free kayaking” I’ve heard of?

A.

New York Kayak Co. (NYKC) is a commercial kayak and stand up paddleboard (SUP) outfitter and dedicated to bringing the finest level of instruction and guide services to Manhattan. Our instructors and guides are American Canoe Association (ACA)-certified, we have a Club for members, and we offer both a retail and online kayak and SUP store. Additionally, we use high-quality sea kayaks – long, narrow, light boats with a cockpit.

The Downtown Boathouse, which provides free, supervised kayaking in a limited area elsewhere, is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization which uses sit-on-top kayaks. Check their website for more details.

Q?

Is there an age minimum?

A.

Yes. Children over 15- and under 18-years-old may participate in our group activities while accompanied by an adult and depending on gear availability.

Children over 15-years-old and under 18-years-old may be eligible for private classes and private tours while accompanied by an adult and depending on gear availabile.

Q?

When can I start going on tours?

A.

Our tours are rated in levels of difficulty. Participation in our tours depends on your demonstrated level of skill.

Kayakers wishing to join a tour should first

  • Have taken the pre-requisite Fundamentals classes indicated for the tour, or
  • Join us on a Practice Paddle so that we may assess your skill level, or
  • Show their American Canoe Association (ACA) assessment or certification
  • Show their British Canoe Union (BCU) assessment or certification.

Children under 15- and over 18-years-old may participate in our group activities while accompanied by an adult and depending on gear availability.

Q?

Is it dangerous?

A.

There are inherent dangers in all outdoor adventure activities, especially in boating, and you will be asked to sign a Participant Release of Liability and Assumption of Risk Agreement.

We go to great lengths to make sure that your experience is as safe as possible. Our guides are well-trained, our equipment is high-quality, and we have the appropriate safety gear. Moreover, we have an excellent safety record.

Q?

How long does it take to learn?

A.

By the end of your first class, you’ll be able to get in your kayak/on your stand up paddleboard (SUP), paddle and steer, get out/off, plus you’ll have some basic safety knowledge. After your second class you should be feeling a lot more comfortable in the kayak/on the SUP and able to maneuver it a lot more effectively.

Paddling is one of those activities in which you learn the basics very quickly but spend a lifetime trying to master.

Q?

When is the paddling season?

A.

The main season for kayaking is determined by the water temperature. Beginners usually start paddling once the water gets above 55 degrees. Here, that is usually in May. It takes longer for the water to cool than the air. So with a windbreaker, you could be paddling as late as October.

We paddle all year long, however, using special gear you need to do it safely.

Q?

What if I’m out of shape?

A.

Use kayaking or stand up paddleboarding (SUP) to get in shape. It’s a lot easier to get into shape when you’re doing something fun! Just tell your instructor or guide know when an old in injury starts to annoy you or you’re running out of steam.

Q?

Is the water clean?

A.

The Riverkeeper for the Hudson River tests that the water quality in the Hudson and reports that is acceptable as deemed by the 2012 Recreational Water Quality Criteria from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for safe swimming. The Manhattan Island Foundation organizes several swims every year in all of the places we paddle.

Realize that fresh water is constantly flowing down the Hudson River from upstate New York and that twice a day, the high tide floods the River with salt water from the ocean. The water around NYC is salty or “brackish.”

It is a city river, so you will see some food wrappers and old shoes, but you’ll also see plenty of fish that get along just fine.

Q?

Do I have to get wet?

A.

Unless the skills you are learning require it, we won’t ask you to get in the water. Even if you paddle prudently, your hands and feet will get a little wet. Ultimately, it is a good idea to get in and practice getting out in case of a capsize.

Q?

What happens if I fall in?

A.

Before we even let you get in the water, an instructor will show you how to get out of your kayak or fall safely from your stand up paddleboard (SUP) in case of a capsize. If you do capsize, your instructor will get you back in your boat quickly. Our instructors are trained in rescues so relax; you’re in good hands. Besides, you will probably discover that falling in can be fun and refreshing.

Q?

What if I want to go on a tour that isn’t on the schedule?

A.

We put tours on the calendar as a recommendation. If you’re interested in doing a tour different than the destination or date that is on the schedule, give us a call. We may have a guide available to take you.

Q?

Why are the same tour destinations sometimes listed as beginner and sometimes as advanced?

A.

The tides change the direction of the current in the Hudson River four times each day. Sometimes the current will be going in the same direction you are, which makes for an easy trip. Sometimes the current is going against you, which makes for more advanced trip.

Q?

Should I bring a lunch on the tour?

A.

It’s always a good idea to have a granola bar or something in case you run out of fuel. Most of our beginner trips are only 2 or 3 hours. Sometimes we go to places that have food or coffee, in which case we’ll let you know so that you can bring cash and indulge. For the very long trips, yes, bring multiple snacks or a lunch.

Q?

What kind of person paddles?

A.

There’s no particular personality or body type that is better suited for kayaking or stand up paddleboard (SUP). However, kayakers will need to be able to sit comfortably with their legs in front of them for the length of their program.

Q?

When will I be ready to go out by myself?

A.

We never recommend going out alone. It is always safer to paddle with another person for a second pair of eyes or a second opinion or someone to steady your kayak or SUP if you need to get back in/on.

As far as when you’ll be ready to go out without a guide, our instructors will let you know. First, you’ll need to know some basic rescues, river navigation, and be very comfortable paddling. By then, you’ll probably know some more experienced paddlers you can go out with.

Q?

Will I get seasick?

A.

You probably know by now if you’re someone who gets seasick. Kayaks and stand up paddleboards (SUP’s) don’t promote seasickness as do boats with a higher center of gravity. If you do start to get queasy, you’re probably staring at your paddle or the waves. Look at the horizon or shoreline and tell your guide you’re not feeling well. We can also raft up to and steady your kayak or board and give you a chance to slouch and relax.

Q?

Is there a changing room? A shower?

A.

We have our own separate changes rooms for men and women. Lockers are available for day use. Bring your own lock. Or, you can ask the shop staff to stash your valuables behind the desk. We do not have showers, but there is a fresh water hose with which to clean off the salt water.

Q?

Do I need any special gear?

A.

To start with, you just need the basics to be comfortable. As time goes on, you may want to buy more specialized gear to be more comfortable or to improve your performance. Kayaking has a lot of gear available; we have the basics you’ll need to get started, and we have competitive prices if you decide it’s time to buy your own.

Q?

What if I’m visiting from out of town?

A.

Out of towners are welcome to take classes. If you already know how to paddle and want to go on a trip while you’re in town, please give us a call. We just need to make sure you’re up to the trip before we send you out there.

Q?

Is kayaking a social activity?

A.

This depends on the person. Most kayakers are pretty friendly. It takes some paddlers a while to be comfortable enough to talk and paddle at the same time, but many kayakers like to chat as they paddle. Also, it is pretty common for people to go for a bite to eat after a class or trip.