We are happy to announce HarborLAB’s new boat fleet! Thanks to the generosity of The New York – New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program (HEP)/Hudson River Foundation, NYC Ferry, Investors Bank and other supporters, HarborLAB purchased 12 new tandem kayaks! We will be adding branded sponsorships, so we welcome new supporters to be recognized on the boats themselves and in other media.
After testing the Sea Eagle 385ft Fast Track and the Advanced Elements Strait Edge 2 Pro on NYC waters in volunteer outings — even Manhattan circumnavigations! — and public programs, we are the first nonprofit boating group to make the leap to the next generation of higher tech, drop-stitch inflatable kayaks. The proven advantages over rigid plastic sit-on-top models include:
- Higher performance with sharper bows and stern skegs.
- Greater safety (multiple inflated chambers vs one rigid).
- Greater comfort thanks to vastly superior seats (three for the Sea Eagle, two for AE).
- Safer, more sustainable transportation within a dense urban environment.
- Easier repairs (patching rather than welding).
- Local customer support, with Sea Eagle based on Long Island.
- Half the weight of rigid boats but more carrying capacity.
- Compact storage (freeing up boathouse floor space for other off-season educational programs).
Our old, rigid sit-on-top tandems were getting brittle from UV exposure and other weathering, plus the wear-and-tear of thousands of users over the course of a decade. The manufacturer told us that their rotomolded plastic boats “weren’t meant to be repaired.” Given their size, storage was a challenge without a boathouse, so we also suffered theft and vandalism. Transportation was exhausting for volunteers and not safe or sustainable, requiring trucks and trailers.
We have kept those of our original kayaks that remain in safe working order. The others we are repurposing. A local company expressed interest in converting them into planters for native species on a parking lot.
We hope you come try out our new fleet, which we’ll be expanding! You’ll see them on the water, in a boathouse, in small electric vehicles, and on our backs and luggage carts on the subway!