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Brooklyn Boat Club Kicks Off Season with Kayaks, Canoes and Oysters

GREENPOINT — If news of the East River's dolphin made New Yorkers crave a nautical jaunt, one group of water lovers is ready to set sail — whether aboard a bright new kayak or a restored wooden boat.

The Greenpoint-based North Brooklyn Boat Club launches its spring season this month with an expanded lineup of vessels and environmental work, from water quality testing to the creation of oyster habitats, its leaders said.

The club, which will feature rides at least twice a week starting in May, has expanded this year to include two canoe instructors and additional boats, founding member Jens Rasmussen explained.

"A big thing is not just getting people on the water, but also teaching skills to the highest levels," Rasmussen said. "Canoe instruction is available to any club members for free." 

The group — based currently at a space on Ash Street by Newtown Creek — will also start building habitats for filter feeders like oysters and clams, he noted.

"Clams and oysters are natural organisms already present in the estuary, and they're natural water cleaners. We’ve started documenting where they're living, and we want to encourage more to grow," Rasmussen said.

"We’re seeing more and more dolphins and seals because the water is getting cleaner, and we want to help that."

This spring members will also have the chance to help restore wooden vessels, and to continue the water-quality testing the club began last year with the New York City Water Trail Association, he said. 

"Until May the only people who can go out on the water are certified trip leaders and paddlers," Rasmussen said of the water temperatures. "But for general membership and the public, boating kicks off in May."

Throughout April, the waterfront "citizen science" projects are ongoing, said Rasmussen, who noted that the group's spring meeting will be held Tuesday for interested members. Membership costs $30 for the club fee and $30 for the American Club Association, he said.

The club's spring meeting is 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, at Brooklyn Rod and Gun Club at 59 Kent Ave. More details about events can be found on the club's website.