BETHLEHEM — Henry Hudson Park will have kayaks available for paddling on the neighboring Hudson River this summer, after the Town Board unanimously approved a proposal put forth by Parks and Recreation Administrator Nan Lanahan. The unstaffed “rental hub,” operated by Upstate Kayak Rentals, will be located near the park’s new kayak launch, which was installed last August.
A new concept, the rental hub will consist of a rack of approximately six locked kayaks, with paddles and floatation devices, available to rent to the public seven days a week — May through October — for two hour intervals (weather permitting). Renters reserve kayaks, two at a time, by contacting Upstate Kayak Rentals through their website or by phone. They then download an app to their smartphone that will unlock the kayaks when they are within approximately ten feet of the hub.
“It’s kind of like Uber Kayak,” commented Supervisor John Clarkson.
“Or like a bike share,” agreed Upstate Kayak Rentals’ Donna Larkin.
Under the agreement, the vendor will provide a comprehensive insurance policy to protect the town against liability. Larkin assured the board that they were also creating safety signage to post at the site warning kayakers of potential dangers such as shifting currents and tides. The two-kayak minimum on rentals is also intended to promote safety by discouraging kayakers from going out alone.
“Safety is a concern for everyone,” said Larkin, who also currently operates a staffed kayak rental business in Waterford where the Erie Canal meets the Hudson River. “It is strongly recommended that you have some boating experience or at least watch some [informational] videos.”
Upstate Kayak will be responsible for all rental equipment, but the town has reserved the right to inspect that equipment and remove anything suspected to be unsafe.
“I think this will be a great partnership,” said Lanahan. “It gives people an opportunity who don’t own their own kayak to give it a try.”
“We have all of these beautiful waterways,” said Larkin. “And they’re unexplored and untapped unless you own a boat.”
Until now, that is.
Two-hour rentals will cost $50, or $25 per kayak. For larger parties of 10 or more, Upstate Kayak can also deliver kayaks to Henry Hudson Park or other Capital District locations.