Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Assemblyman Goldfeder Makes Beach More Accessible for Kayaking

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder

Rockaway, Queens— After coordinating between the NYC Parks Department, the NYC Health Departments and the State Department of Health, Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder’s (D-Rockaway) has successfully pushed for ocean-going kayaks to be considered boating vessels under the current Health Codes. This clarification will now allow kayaks  to launch off the Rockaway Beaches—a common activity among locals and tourists that was not specified under NYC Parks regulations until now.  
“I am proud that city and state agencies have worked together and listened to the concerns of our community and decided to take the necessary corrective actions,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “This small clarification of the Health Code will go a long way to allow our families to fully enjoy Rockaway’s beaches without worrying about being unfairly ticketed or fined.”

For years, residents and visitors have been asked to leave the waters while kayaking during non-bathing hours, since the sport was not specified as a legal boating activity by the NYC Parks Department. Earlier last month, Goldfeder sent a letter to Acting Parks Commissioner Liam Kavanagh to make the distinction that kayaks are boating vessels and permit the use on every beach.

“This is a huge win for users of kayaks and other human-powered watercraft who have been denied access to the Atlantic Ocean from Rockaway beaches for decades,” said Rick Horan, Executive Director of the Gateway Bike & Boathouse, a water access advocacy group.   “We would like to thank Assemblyman Goldfeder for working tirelessly in helping to bring New York City Parks Dept.  regulations in line with New York State law. It was a long time coming but worth the wait,” he added.

Parks Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh, responded to Goldfeder's request in a letter stating that the NYC Parks Department has determined that ocean-going kayaks are considered boating vessels under the Health Codes and as such are not subject to regulations covering swimming and bathing, even with the understanding that launching kayaks can involve some degree of immersion in the receiving waters.

“I commend the Parks Department for allowing the many diverse ocean activities to take place and for new sports to flourish in Rockaway,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “This was a long awaited victory for our families that enjoy kayaking on our beaches.”  

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