Recreational Reservoir Boating

Rules and Requirements


Boaters to the Cannonsville or Pepacton reservoirs in Delaware County, the Schoharie Reservoir in Schoharie County or the Neversink Reservoir in Sullivan County must follow certain requirements in order to safely and legally navigate these New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) managed waters.

Each reservoir offers excellent recreational opportunities whether fishing, paddling or rowing.

Vessels must be properly permitted and steam cleaned and all boaters must comply with state flotation device requirements.

Steam Cleaning and
Recreational Boat Tags

If you own a vessel, you must have it and all oars and/or paddles steam cleaned by a DEP-approved steam cleaning vendor before placing it on a reservoir. You will be asked to show your DEP access permit when you have your boat steam cleaned. You must also complete and submit a DEP recreational boat tag application to the steam cleaning vendor at the time of your visit.

After your boat is steam cleaned, you will receive your choice of a temporary or seasonal recreational boat tag. A temporary boat tag is valid for one to seven days from issuance, while the seasonal recreational boat tag is valid from the day of issuance until sunset on Oct. 31, which is the end of the recreational boating season.

The tag must remain on your boat while on the reservoir. If your boat leaves the reservoir property, it must be steam cleaned again before returning.

Boat Rental

Steam cleaning helps protect against invasive plants, animals, and microorganisms that can harm water quality and fisheries. Water quality is consistently tested to ensure that no recreational activity has an adverse effect on New York City’s drinking water supply.

The boat rental program allows recreational boaters to rent pre-cleaned and registered kayaks and canoes from 10 launch sites on Cannonsville, Neversink, Pepacton, and Schoharie reservoirs. 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.

Allowed Boats

Non-motorized kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and sculls with the appropriate recreational boat tags may be used. All recreational boats, except kayaks, must be at least 11’ 5’. Kayaks must be at least nine feet in length.

Personal Flotation Devices

Recreational 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 safety, wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD. Floating seat cushions do not satisfy the “wearable PFD” requirement.


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