The bimonthly event is led by professional kayakers, such as Sandy Sobanski, a 20-year resident of Hoboken who was in large part responsible for establishing the event on this side of the Hudson.
"It's a mind-blowing experience," said Sobanski, who has been paddling the Hudson for eight years now. "Between feeling the energy of that powerful river and the nature all around you. I cherish it."
The next event will be held Sunday, July 30.
Though the river is open to anyone, Sobanski warns that potential kayakers who lack experience should not attempt the Hudson River without the guidance of someone who knows the waters, due to changing tides, barge and ferry patterns, and security zones imposed after 9-11.
"The river is constantly changing," she said. "One minute it's a lake; then it's like white water rapids."
As a result of the ocean's tidal pulse, which can be felt as far up as Troy, New York, 153 miles north of New York City's harbor, the river has two high and two low tides each day. This results in the current changing direction four times every 24 hours.
"It's an amazing force," she said. "It can be a really wonderful experience and a really bad thing if you don't know the area."
The Hoboken Cove Boathouse After being forced to travel into Manhattan for years in order to kayak on the Hudson, Sobanski, along with several other experienced boaters who had the same dilemma, began their own kayak launch pad from Sinatra Park in the summer of 2004. The Hoboken Cove Boathouse was modeled after New York's Downtown Boathouse, a non-for-profit organization comprised entirely of volunteers.
Now entering its third summer, the Hoboken Cove Boathouse program has become increasingly popular amongst families and couples throughout the city. As a result, many of its members are currently seeking a permanent boathouse along the city's northern waterfront.
In 2005, Sobanski applied for a $600,000 grant from the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund but was turned down. According to Sobanski, the reason county officials gave for refusing the funds was that the proposed area was not yet ready for the project.
Sobanski's ideal location for the future boathouse would be behind the Tea Building on 15th Street, where an area of water lies protected from the tide. If the boathouse were to be built, it would be modeled after former boathouses that once occupied the same area, only designed to house kayaks.
Currently, the Hoboken Cove Director is awaiting the cities response to her request, which she says, ads another park to the city without requiring much land.
The main event On Sunday July 30, more experienced kayakers will begin the event at the 56th Street Pier in Manhattan at 8:30 a.m. They will paddle across the river to Sinatra Park and offload approximately 10 single and double sit-on-kayaks along with equipment provided by the Downtown Boathouse. The estimated time for the trip is an hour, depending on the river's current.
The second phase of the event will give less experienced kayakers an opportunity to paddle on the Hudson. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., instructors will guide residents along the Hoboken Waterfront, starting from the area in front of the Sinatra Café and ending 100 or so feet before Pier A.
Though Sobanski warns that every summer at least one individual flips their kayak over, it's almost always a result of the individual ignoring the instructions that were given to them. The route used by the guides is one of the safest on the Hudson, says Sobanski.
Though no experience is required to take part in the event, participants must be able to swim, and if they decide to take the trip across the Hudson, be able to maintain an hour's worth of cardio vascular activity.
Kayakers must be over the age of 18 or accompanied by their parents. For more information regarding the upcoming event, log on to www.hobokencoveboathouse.org.
Michael Mullins can be reached at email@example.com