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Kayaking returns to Canalside

BFLO Harbor Kayak kicked off the season Saturday
Posted at 6:19 PM, May 23, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Kayaks are back at Canalside. A welcomed site for Western New Yorkers when many other activities remain closed.

BFLO Harbor Kayak opened for the season on Saturday. It's allowed to open under Phase One of New York's reopening plan, which includes low-risk outdoor activities.

Jason Schwinger is the owner and said he feared the worst when places closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have a short season here in Buffalo, so we knew that if we missed any of summer it would be kind of devastating," he said.

Schwinger said some of this year's changes are:

  • Six feet of space between customers
  • An updated website for reservations, to minimize contact at the rental kiosk
  • New cleaning procedures for boats, paddles, and life vest

Kayakers said that out on the water, however, not much has changed.

“You’re literally on open water, so it’s not like you have to worry about getting sick or anything," said kayaker Chad Paulter. "So it’s definitely something that’s cool to do.”

Schwinger said kayaking is naturally a socially distant activity. Once in the water, he recommends kayakers remain 11-12 feet away from other kayakers. Schwinger said masks don't necessarily have to be worn on the water.

“Well if you’re on the water and people are comfortable they can take the mask off if they’re adhering to the the policy, but around here we’re all masked and ready," he said.

Schwinger said tandem kayaks are available, but usually given to people who are quarantining together.

The rest of Canalside is open for the summer, with some restrictions.