KINGSTON – The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has announced that all its boat offices and recreational boating locations in the watershed will open over the next week. The opening of boat offices and the recreational boating program was delayed by several weeks this spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The boat offices and reservoirs are re-opening in accordance with regional plans designated by the State of New York. The reservoirs that allow boating are located in four of the state’s 10 regions. The Capital Region, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley regions met the state’s seven metrics to begin re-opening last week; the Mid-Hudson Region met the criteria on Tuesday to restart certain sectors of its economy. The state noted that “low-risk recreation” could begin throughout these areas.
The use of boats on New York City’s reservoirs is split between two programs. One allows the use of rowboats for fishing on all 19 of the city’s water-supply reservoirs. Each rowboat must be registered and steam-cleaned at a DEP boat office. Boat offices in Downsville, Gilboa, Grahamsville, and Shokan will begin taking calls for steam-cleaning appointments immediately.
The boat office in Mahopac will begin taking calls for appointments on Monday, June 1. Anglers must call the boat offices ahead of time. Steam cleaning will not be done without an appointment.
|DEP Boat Offices|
The second program allows the use of recreational boats – kayaks and canoes – at Cannonsville, Neversink, Pepacton and Schoharie reservoirs. To protect water quality in those reservoirs, the recreational boating program relies on a small network of trained businesses that stream clean the boats before they are used each spring.
DEP will perform the annual inspection of steam-cleaning equipment at those local businesses this week, allowing them to begin cleaning recreational boats for use at all four reservoirs on Friday, May 29. Businesses that provide pre-cleaned rental boats at the reservoirs will also be permitted to start rentals on that day. A complete list of steam-cleaning businesses and rental vendors can be found on the Catskill Watershed Corporation website at cwconline.org/reservoir-boating/.
DEP also reminds anglers and boaters to follow guidance from federal, state and local health authorities. Those who use the reservoirs should continue to maintain a physical distance from others, vigorously wash their hands or use hand sanitizer, and wear face coverings if they anticipate coming into close contact with others.