Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club

Rules and Regulations

The following is a list of the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club’s rules and regulations pertaining to equipment use on the Gowanus Canal. In addition, all rules pertaining to New York harbor shall apply.

  • All canoeists must wear life jackets at all times – program is terminated if a member uses equipment without a life jacket
  • Canoe Season runs from May 1st through November 1st and equipment may be used from dawn until dusk
  • Evening equipment use: special permission needed and a white signal light is required in the canoe
  • Participants over 18 must sign an adult waiver
  • Participants who are under 18 years must have parents or guardian sign the minor waiver
  • Membership is available to adults and mature youth (16+ years). Youth (under 16) may participate if accompanied by an adult
  • Members can not get upset when canoes are sunk, stolen, destroyed, or season starts late or ends early by discretion of the Board
  • Annual membership dues and fees are not refundable 

Code of Conduct

Adopted by the Board of Directors, July 19, 2011

Persons affiliated with the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, as officers, members, volunteers or participants in committees, programs, activities, events or in any capacity are expected to abide by the following code of conduct.

  1. Represent the organization with professionalism, dignity and pride, and be responsible for conducting ourselves with courtesy and appropriate behavior at all times.
  2. Display respect and courtesy at all times for officers, members, volunteers, program participants, visitors and guests.
  3. Act as stewards of Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club and Activity Committee facilities and equipment, by treating it with care on and off the water and abiding with requirements as set forth by the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club and Activity Committee Chairs with respect to use of facilities and equipment. 
  4. Promote safety on and off the water at all times, by following the rules and directives set forth by officers and event coordinators with regards to programs, activities and events, as well as the regulations of the USCG and NYC Harbor Police and general navigation and weather-related guidelines. 
  5. Respect the privacy of persons served by the organization and hold in confidence sensitive, private and personal information.




Formal Certification

Volunteers in the various Activity Committees, especially those who lead trips and conduct training may pursue formal kayaking or canoeing certifications for either individual achievement, or leadership. The most popular certification program is from the American Canoe Association.

Such certifications are valuable and encouraged by the 501c3but are not mandatory across all Activity Committees. A particular Activity Committee may require certification, but certification is not a requirement for these safety protocols that govern all Activity Committees. Each Activity Committee Chair may enact a policy requiring certification for certain activities and with Board Approval, may offer financial incentives in the form of individual grants or tuition reimbursement to volunteers and participants that obtain certification.


Dredger owned equipment should be used on by Participants only after the departure is supervised by a Dredger Volunteer. The exact rules for supervision levels and use of equipment will be set by each Activity Committee Chair.

Commercial Activities

Dredger owned equipment or facilities will only be used for activities for which a fee is charged when 100% of the gross revenue from the activities is turned over to the Dredgers. Volunteers do not receive money in exchange for services using Dredger equipment, facilities or from participation with the AC or the 501c3 that is not remanded to the Dredgers. Should a volunteer or participant incur expenses as a result of volunteering for a program, the individual may be reimbursed from funds of the 501c3.

Board Member Compensation

All Board Members make an annual financial contribution to the Organization, a contribution intended to empower them as vested board members, who collectively define the direction of the Not For Profit Corporation. Board members shall not receive any compensation for their services, including tuition reimbursement or financial grants and shall strive to maintain current annual membership dues. Should a Board Member incur expenses as a result of volunteering for a program, they may be reimbursed from funds of the 501c3.

Health and Fitness

All Participants will be asked by a Volunteer verbally or in writing about their general state of health and fitness, and will attest to being adequately prepared before engaging in any program.

All Volunteers will be in good general health and a state of physical fitness that is appropriate to their participation in the activity they are undertaking. The exact level of physical fitness is to be set by the Volunteers themselves and the Activity Committee.

Insurance Coverage and Waivers

The Dredgers maintain up to date liability and director’s insurance at all times, and all Volunteers will ensure that all Volunteers and Participants sign a liability waiver before engaging in any on-water activity. A new waiver must be signed, each day, for each person who goes on the water that day regardless of the person’s qualifications or affiliations. Vehicle use by volunteers and participants shall be operated by a person with a valid license, shall carry insurance coverage by statute, shall be driven in a safe and conservative fashion. The driver will be responsible to ensure equipment is tied down and an oversized load flag is attached when appropriate.

VHF Radios/Cellular Phones

Radios are a powerful safety tool that many Activity Committees find useful on trips and other programs to communicate with other Volunteers, the authorities, or other watercraft. Volunteers are encouraged to use and the ACs should make VHF radios available during all on-water programming, but the equipment not required unless as determined by the AC.

Some form of emergency communication, either a cellular phone or a VHF radio is required to be available whenever Dredger equipment or facilities are used in any on-water capacity.

Other Safety Equipment

A waterproof whistle or other waterproof audible signal device should be attached to each vessel. A white signal light is required when equipment is used after sunset and before dawn. Waivers are to be read and signed and some ACs may require a trip log to be completed prior to departure. Youth (under 16) may participate if accompanied by an adult and youth under 18 must have waivers completed by parent or legal guardian. To the greatest extent possible, all laws and regulations of the local municipality to the USCG should be followed and in the event of a difference in regulations, the most conservative regulation should be followed.

Enclosed Cockpit Kayak Rules

All Activity Committees shall ensure that whenever closed cockpit kayaks fitted with spray skirts or spray decks are used by Volunteers or Participants that the user is trained in the removal of the spray skirt in case of a capsize. All Volunteers or Participants using a spray skirt is to practice a capsize and exit from a kayak the involves removing the spray skirt underwater, under close supervision of at least one experienced qualified volunteer before using a spray skirt.



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