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Expanded Recreational Boating Program

Cannonsville 2010 Season Kick-off Event

DEP Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Water Supply Paul Rush (left) and Delaware County’s Chairman of the Board of Supervisors James Eisel, Sr. (right) plying the waters of the Cannonsville during the 2010 Season Kick-off Event.


In 2008 DEP developed a 3 year pilot program for recreational boating on the Cannonsville Reservoir.  The program’s success has supported expanding the Recreational Boating Program to the Neversink, Pepacton and Schoharie Reservoirs.  Beginning on Friday, May 25th, 2012 recreational boats including, kayaks, canoes, rowboats, sculls or sail boats will be allowed on all four reservoirs. You do not have to be actively fishing to participate in this program. The goal of the program is to expand regional recreational opportunities for watershed residents and visitors and promote environmentally sound economic development.

Program Summary

What you need to participate:

  • Permitted vessel
  • Personal Flotation Device(s) (PFD)
  • Free DEP Access Permit
  • DEP Recreational Boat Tag (Temporary or Season Tag)

What you need to do:

  • Have your vessel steam cleaned at a participating DEP-approved steam cleaning vendor. Steam cleaning vendors may charge a fee for the steam cleaning services.
  • Select one of the four reservoirs and your launch site area.

Program Brochures

Four brochures have been developed to provide additional information. They include a map of the reservoir area, program details, launch site information and steam cleaning vendor contact information.  You may wish to print a brochure from the links below for convenience. Brochures are also available at the steam cleaning vendor locations, reservoir launch sites, kiosks and various other outlets.

2014 Season

Recreational boating will be allowed from sunrise to sunset commencing Friday, May 23rd (Memorial Day Weekend) to sunset on Columbus Day.

Allowed Vessels

Non-motorized kayaks, canoes, rowboats, sculls and sailboats may be used. Sailboats must have removable center/dagger boards.  All boats except kayaks must be at least eleven feet five inches (11’5”) in length. Kayaks must be at least nine feet (9’) in length.

Recreational Boats and Trolling Motors

Trolling motors are not permitted for use on kayaks, canoes, sculls and sailboats at this time. Trolling motors can be used by permit, for fishing rowboats on the Cannonsville reservoir under a new pilot program. For more information on this new program go to:

Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

It is a requirement to have a wearable Personal Flotation Device (PFD) for each person on the boat. Children under the age of 12 must wear them. For your own safety we highly encourage you to wear your US Coast Guard approved PFD. Floating seat cushions do not satisfy the “wearable PFD” requirement.

DEP Access Permits and Recreational Boat Tags

Participating individuals 16 years and older will be required to obtain a free DEP Access Permit. You will be asked to show your DEP Access Permit at the steam cleaning vendor. If you don’t have an Access Permit, you can apply using the link provided below or at a participating steam cleaning vendor. It may be easier for you to obtain your DEP Access Permit before you visit the steam cleaning vendor.

A DEP Recreational Boat Tag application must be completed and submitted to the steam cleaning vendor at the time of your visit. Only then will you be eligible to have your vessel steam cleaned.  A printable version of the Recreational Boat Tag application is provided below. All vessels, including oars, paddles and sails, must be steam cleaned before they are placed on the reservoir. This can be done at a variety of DEP-approved private vendors.  A list of DEP-approved vendors is below:

After the boat is steam cleaned, the vendor will issue a Temporary or Seasonal Recreational Boat Tag.  A Temporary Recreational Boating Tag will be valid for one to seven days from issuance, while the Seasonal Recreational Boating Tag will be valid from the day of issuance until sunset on Columbus Day, which is the end of the Recreational Boating season.  This tag must remain on your boat while on the reservoir. Examples of the 2014 boat tags are below. Please remember that if the boat leaves the reservoir property it must be steam cleaned again before returning.

Launch Sites and Use Areas

Launch sites were coordinated with the NYSDEC to prevent conflict with nesting eagles and were coordinated with the NYSDOT for public safety. Signs have been installed along the road to help identify launch areas.

At this time, not all sections of the reservoirs are open for recreational boating. The maps below identify the various launch sites and use areas.

The bounds of the use areas are designated by signs. Look for these signs along the reservoir shoreline and please do not go beyond these points.

Recreational Boating Rules

Recreational boating rules are covered in the Rules for the Recreational Use of Water Supply Lands and Waters. A link is posted below:

Reservoir Levels

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