riverriders faqs

June 15 – August 31, 2017



Walk-up kayaking, paddle-boarding and environmental awareness. 

This community paddle program (boats, boards, equipment and trained leaders) are FREE-OF-CHARGE to participants 6 years of age and older

No one may participate in this program without the Adult or Minor Insurance Waiver being signed (tap link at bottom of your screen) 

Boats and equipment are available on a first come first served basis. We do not take reservations. (see below for start times).

Participants are expected to help carry boats and equipment from the storage facilities to the ramp and help wash and store all boats and equipment on their return.


Every Thursday from 4Pm to 7PMfrom June 16 until September 1, 2016. Specific Mondays may be added. PLEASE check the weekly calendar for the most up to date information. Walk-up kayaking may always be cancelled due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.


Community paddling may be cancelled or modified due to weather conditions, water conditions, or for safety reasons. The Public Program Coordinator has COMPLETE Authority over the event and SAFETY of all participants is paramount.


Participants can be from 6 to 80 yrs old. However, participants must realize that they need to be physically able to help carry their boat and equipment to the ramp and back.

Participants must be physically able to sit in a Sit-on-top kayak boat.


Persons with physical disabilitiesmust contact The Public Program Coordinator BEFORE you arrive for a paddle.

If you have any health concerns please contact The Public Program Coordinator BEFORE you arrive for a paddle


Participants Safety is our number one concern, which is why: 

Volunteer YPRC Members have taken courses in kayaking and leadership.

On-Water volunteers carry VHF radios in case of emergencies. 

On-Water volunteers have complete authority over all boats on water and may exclude any individual as they see fit.

You must fill out our standard an Insurance Waiver online (tap link at bottom of your screen).

Groups should fill out online adult and minor waiversbefore they arrive and provide a list of all signed waivers at check-in.

Lifejackets must be worn at all times.

Competent swimming skills are encouraged but not required but you should at a minimum be comfortable in the water. The boats used are all wide sit-on-top kayaks designed for beginners but there is always a chance of falling into the water.


Dress appropriately for the day. YPRC suggests that all participants wear water shoes (not sneakers). It is necessary that you protect your feet because there are sharp rocks and sometimes broken glass in the river, and kayakers need to wade into the water as they launch their boats.  Wear clothes that can get wet and you will feel comfortable in. If possible, bring a towel and a set of dry clothes to change into after the paddle.

The water in June is still cold and it is suggested that long pants and a long sleeve top are worn. Clothes that are breathable and NOT COTTON are recommended.

YPRC will not be responsible for the loss of any items. Please leave your valuables at home. 

A hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses that protect against UV rays are recommended in the hot summer sun. The rays that reflect off the water can be dangerous to the retina. Dark glasses that do not offer UV protection are more harmful than no glasses because they cause the pupil to open wide allowing even more UV to hit the retina.

There are no shower facilities available and restrooms consist of Porta-Sans near the ramp and flush toilets at the south end of JFK Marina

Drinking water is available.

DO NOT BRING ANYTHING ONTO THE WATER THAT CAN BE LOST OR DAMAGED. (cell phones, wallets, keys etc). There are NO lockers available to store valuables at JFK Marina.


From Tappan Zee Bridge
Go south on Route 87 (NYS Thruway) to the Saw Mill River Parkwayto Executive Blvd. exit. Follow Executive Blvd. to end. Make left onto North Broadway to first traffic light - Odell Avenue. Right onto Odell Avenue. to end. Make left onto Warburton Avenue to Kennedy Blvd. Turn right onto Kennedy to marina and park.

From NYC
Take either the Major Deegan or the Henry Hudson Parkway north to Saw Mill River Parkway north. Stay on Saw Mill River Parkway north to Executive Blvd. Follow directions from * above.

Metro North Hudson Line to Glenwood Station - 43 minutes from Grand Central Station.SUBWAY:1 or 9 IRT to 242nd Street. Then BIKE north 6.5 miles or take #1 Yonkers BUS to JFK Memorial Drive and walk west to river.


If you have any questions not addressed here or for general information please contact Phil Giller at 718-354-6141 or email.


If the kayaks have not yet been taken out, please help carry them from their storage area onto the launching site or other designated area, a program volunteer will assist you. Do not drag the boats, as the cement will damage the bottoms, work in pairs, one at each end.

Small children should not carry kayaks, but they can help with carrying the paddles.

Sit on Top Kayaksdo not haveseats and unless you have a bad back, seats are not really necessary.

Onceall the boats and equipment are staged for use, get fitted with a life jacket PFD and obtain a paddle. Remember that the PFD must fit snugly and should not be able to slip above your neck.

Pay attention to a brief review of paddling techniques and safety tips from one of the program volunteers

Your help will make things flow smoothly. After you have come off the water, you can help put kayaks and equipment away or with other brief chores.



YPRC paddles are fairly expensive, so please do not scrape them on the ground and handle them with care. The same is true ofYPRC kayaks so please avoid dragging them over the ground.

When paddlinggrasp your paddle so that the writing on the paddle is right side up and facing you. Any other position will not be efficient. Your fingers should grasp the shaft of the paddle so that you can see the back of your hand.

Moving Forward (Forward Stroke): Bring your paddle, in a sweeping motion and pushing the water backwards, from where your ankle is to where you are sitting. Do this from side to side. Keep the paddle close to the side of the kayak.

Moving Backwards (Reverse Stroke): Do the opposite of the above by sweeping the water forward, starting from where you are sitting. This technique is useful when you want to avoid a rock or other obstruction.

Turning Right: Paddle forward only on your left side, but have the paddle further away from the side of the boat than when you are simply moving forward. You can figure out how to turn left!

Quick Turn: For turning right, do as above but follow with a reverse stroke on the right also keeping the paddle further away from the side of the boat. Do the opposite for a quick turn to the left.

Rudder Stroke: Sometimes wind and currents will make your boat drift to one side despite all you efforts. If your kayak drifts to the right, correct the motion by dipping your paddle on the left side and holding it wide from the side of the boat. Your paddle then acts as a rudder directing the kayak away from its rightward drift. Do the opposite for a leftward drift.

Practice: Once in the water, practice going forward, backwards and making turns. Once you feel comfortable doing these maneuvers or if you are already experienced, help someone who is having difficulties. If you are an adult with a young child, help him/her understand the above instructions.