Though the official start date of summer isn’t until June 21st, many New Jerseyans think of Memorial Day Weekend as the kickoff to the season. This means trips planned to the Jersey Shore and beyond for many Hoboken and Jersey City locals. What some locals — as well as resident who are new to the area — may not know is that you don’t need to travel far to enjoy time on the water this summer. In fact, you don’t need to travel — or pay — at all. Thanks to the beloved non-profit, the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse, locals can enjoy free kayaking and paddleboarding all summer long. Read on to learn about these free water activities available in Hoboken via the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse.
Free Boating at Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse
Locals can enjoy free paddleboarding and kayaking right here in Hoboken, thanks to the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse. This local nonprofit organization is run by volunteers. The Boathouse’s mission is to provide free water sports programs and access to local waterways for all residents. The Boathouse works in conjunction with the City of Hoboken to provide opportunities to locals for exploring the water.
More than 6,000 paddlers get out on the Hudson via kayaks and paddle boards thanks to the efforts of Hoboken Boathouse volunteers. The Boathouse first opened back in 2004, making this its eighteenth year in operation. Over the past few years, the Boathouse has had to limit the number of participants going out on the water at a time due to the pandemic. This year, however, the Boathouse has reinstated its walk-up program.
Since the Boathouse is a non-profit organization, access to the New Jersey waterway is completely free. If you choose to take the Boathouse up on one of the many water-friendly events and activities it provides throughout the summer, you don’t even have to pay to use the equipment. Donations are accepted and widely regarded as the kind thing to do for an organization that gives back to its community so much.
Due to popular demand, donations can also be used to secure a reservation for kayaking and paddleboarding through the Boathouse. The limited reservations can be secured with a ten dollar donation; however, reservations are not necessary. They are simply helpful on days when there is a long line at the Boathouse. The reservation slots are released four days before each paddle day. If no times are shown when you click on the booking page, that likely means all spots for the day have already been booked.
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The Hoboken Boathouse also offers tours for paddlers, known as the Public River Trip. Participants follow a tour guide down the Hudson River, taking in the views of the NYC skyline. The River Trip is generally one to two hours long and is described as a bit of a workout. While no prior paddling experience is required, trip leaders run a short paddle test before leaving to make sure all paddlers are comfortable in their watercraft.
Public River Trips generally run on a lottery due to the program’s popularity. The Public River Trip also does not take reservations in advance. According to the website, kayak traffic is generally slower in the morning. Participants must be 18 years of age and up and know how to swim.
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Fund for a Better Waterfront is teaming up with Resilience Adventures for a morning of free fun at the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse on Sunday, June 5th. There will be live music from local singer/songwriter James Calleo, as well as a tour of the central waterfront, mural making with Ann Marshall and Marni Fylling, interactive science demonstrations for kids (and adults) and more.