Our reservoirs offer excellent recreational opportunities by boat. All boaters must obtain a free DEP Access Permit and all boats must be steam cleaned by a DEP certified steam cleaning vendor before being placed on a resevoir.
If you are interested in fishing on our reservoirs by boat, please visit Boating for Anglers and Fishing. For answers to frequently asked questions about angler boat tags, please visit Angler Boat Tag FAQs.
Recreational boating (boating for non-anglers) is allowed on Cannonsville, Pepacton, Neversink and Schoharie Reservoirs. For the 2019 season, recreational boating is allowed from May 1 to October 31.
Recreational Boating Maps & Launch Sites
Use our recreational boating brochures to view area maps, launch sites, as well as steam cleaning and rental boat vendor contact information:
Launch sites are coordinated with the New York State Department of Conservation to prevent conflict with nesting eagles and with the New York State Department of Transportation for public safety. Signs are installed along the road to help identify recreational boating launch areas.
DEP Access Permits for Recreational Boaters
Recreational boaters are required to obtain a free DEP Access Permit. You can apply for a permit online through the DEP Access Permit System or in-person at a participating steam cleaning vendor. For answers to commonly asked questions about DEP Access Permits, please visit DEP Access Permit FAQs.
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.
Learn more about the Boat Rental Program with the Catskill Watershed Corporation.
Steam Cleaning and Recreational Boat Tags
If you own a vessel, you must have it and all oars and 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 Recreational Boating Tag is valid for one to seven days from issuance, while the Seasonal Recreational Boating Tag is valid from the day of issuance until sunset on October 31, which the end of the Recreational Boating season.
This tag must remain on your boat while on the reservoir. Please remember that if your boat leaves the reservoir property, it must be steam cleaned again before returning.
Steam cleaning helps protect against invasive plants, animals, and microorganisms that can harm water quality and fisheries. We continuously test water quality to ensure that none of the recreational activities has an adverse effect on New York City’s drinking water supply.
Non-motorized kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and sculls with the the appropriate recreational boat tags may be used. All recreational boats except kayaks must be at least eleven feet five inches (11′5″) in length. Kayaks must be at least nine feet (9′) in length.
Sailboats are no longer permitted in the Recreational Boating Program.
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 your own safety, we highly encourage you to wear your US Coast Guard approved PFD. Floating seat cushions do not satisfy the “wearable PFD” requirement.