The all-volunteer nonprofit organization also runs ecological education programs for kids, conducts water and ecological testing, and even throws movie nights for its members.
More than 200 people are members of the club. For just a $40 annual fee, they become part of a community of boaters, environmentalists and activists.
Roman Tetelbaum, a trip assistant and event manager for the organization, said because nobody is getting paid, all of the effort comes from believing in the club’s mission.
“You would only do it if you care about it,” he said. “I have no incentive to help out except to get more people out in the community and get more people to care about a better local waterway.”
He started volunteering as soon as he joined the club last spring. Now, he assists with kayak trips and helps plan fundraisers like the one they’re hosting with the Long Island City Community Boathouse on April 2.
“I really believe in what we do and all the people we get together,” he said. “There are always interesting people at these events. It’s exciting every time we have a small event or small paddle.”
Tetelbaum said there’s a bad reputation for Newtown Creek and the East River as dirty waterways. He said although that’s true to an extent, he wants the community to know that changes are coming.
“There are so many people that are active and perfecting those waters and making sure things get done,” he said. “The best way to learn about this is to get out on the water and talk to the people who are involved in all this stuff.”