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Recreational Boating Program


DEP’s Recreational Boating Program, now in its seventh year, has attracted thousands of boaters to the Cannonsville, Pepacton, Neversink and Schoharie Reservoirs.

2018 Recreational Boating Season

For the 2018 season, recreational boating will be allowed from sunrise to sunset starting Friday, May 25 (Memorial Day Weekend) and ending Monday, October 8 (Columbus Day).

To obtain reservoir specific information, including maps of the areas, program details, and launch site, steam cleaning and rental vendor contact information, please refer to our program brochures. These brochures are also available at the steam cleaning vendor locations, reservoir launch sites, kiosks and other outlets:

Boaters are required to obtain a free DEP Access Permit and all boats used on the reservoirs must also be steam cleaned by one of the DEP-Certified Steam Cleaning Vendors (PDF) located across the watershed. Steam cleaning helps protect against invasive plants, animals, and microorganisms that can harm water quality and fisheries. If a recreational boat is taken off reservoir property, it must be steam cleaned again before it can re-enter the reservoir. DEP continuously tests water quality to ensure that none of the recreational activities has an adverse effect on New York City’s drinking water supply.

Boat Rentals with the Catskill Watershed Corporation

The boat rental program will continue for 2018, which allows visitors to rent pre-cleaned and registered kayaks and canoes from 10 launch sites on the four reservoirs. The rental program is administered by the Catskill Watershed Corporation. Rental boats are stored on 30 racks alongside the reservoirs to promote easier access for visitors to the region and those who don’t own a boat.

DEP Access Permits for Boaters

Boaters are required to obtain a free DEP Access Permit. You will be asked to show your DEP Access Permit when you have your boat steam cleaned at one of the DEP approved steam cleaning vendors. You can apply for a permit online through the DEP Access Permit System or in-person at a participating steam cleaning vendor.

Steam Cleaning and Recreational Boat Tags

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

After the boat is steam cleaned, you will receive your choice of a Temporary or Seasonal Recreational Boat Tag. A Temporary Recreational Boating Tag is valid for one to seven days from issuance, while the Seasonal Recreational Boating Tag is valid from the day of issuance until sunset on Columbus Day, which is currently the end of the Recreational Boating season.

This tag must remain on your boat while on the reservoir. Please remember that if the boat leaves the reservoir property, it must be steam cleaned, again, before returning.

Recreational Boat Tags. Temporary and Full Season.

Recreational Boat Tags. Temporary and Full Season.

Allowed Vessels

Non-motorized kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and sculls may be used. 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.

2018 Season Changes

Sailboats are no longer considered an allowed vessel within the Recreational Boating Program.

Personal Flotation Device

Boaters are required 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.

Launch Sites and Use Areas

Launch sites were coordinated with the New York State Department of Conservation to prevent conflict with nesting eagles and with the New York State Department of Transportation for public safety. Signs have been installed along the road to help identify launch areas.

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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