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Public Access

New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary Stewards!  

If you are a park advocate, a beach cleaner, a kayaker, an environmentalist, an educator, or a community organizer based in the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary – we need your help in putting your group on the map. Don’t let your hard work go unrecognized!

In a 2015 initiative to recognize and address challenges to public access (pdf), the New York - New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program is working with the US Forest Service and other partners to identify where public access and/or stewardship is limited in the region, and where opportunities to develop access and increase capacity are needed.

Together we will count, map, connect and better support all the different forms of stewardship of our public waterfront spaces. The assessment and maps will be shared publicly and will be used to ensure the effectiveness of the Estuary Program and Hudson River Foundation small grant programs. We thank you for your participation! For more information, email:  stewardship@harborestuary.org. 

Public Access: OASIS map NYC OASIS Map: "Find an Access site near you"

or, request a copy of the New York New Jersey Harbor Estauary Paddling Guide

Going Coastal

Boating and fishing are favorite recreational activities of those living in as well as visiting the New York-New Jersey Boating and fishing are favorite recreational activities of those living in as well as visiting the New York-New Jersey Harbor. There are certain responsibilities thatNo Discharge Zones boaters and anglers need to take into consideration when they are out on the water. If you are going to boat and fish in the Harbor, then you should know about no discharge zones, pumpout stations, access sites, and recreational fishing regulations. Harbor. There are certain responsibilities that boaters and anglers need to take into consideration when they are out on the water. If you are going to boat and fish in the Harbor, then you should know about no discharge zones, pumpout stations, access sites, and recreational fishing regulations.

NY-NJ Harbor Estuary Pumpouts back to top
All pumpout stations in the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary are mapped and listed in this colorful brochure (pdf) The New York waters of the Hudson River are an EPA designated No Discharge Area, where it is illegal to discharge any boat sewage from a holding tank or portable toilet or use a direct discharge toilet anywhere in the river, from the Battery to Troy Dam. All sewage must be emptied at a pumpout station. Credit: Going Coastal, Inc. (Click Here)

No Discharge Zones back to top
Since boating can cause environmental pollution, such as increased levels of pathogens through the discharge of human sewage, no discharge zones (NDZs) and pumpout stations were created to keep our waters clean. Under the Clean Vessel Program (Click Here) waters can be designated NDZs, which means that boats cannot discharge sewage into those waters. Boats that have an installed toilet are required to have a marine sanitation device (MSD) under Section 312 of the Clean Water Act. Even though sewage is disinfected and treated by MSDs, these wastes cannot be discharged into waters that are designated as NDZs. Pumpout stations are made available to boaters in order for them to have a way of flushing out their waste.

No Discharge Zones in the Harbor:

  • Hudson River (153-mile stretch between Battery Park in Manhattan and the City of Troy Dam in Rensselaer County, NY)*
  • Navesink River (Monmouth County, NJ)
  • Shrewsbury River (Monmouth County, NJ)

*The No Discharge Zone only applies to the NY side of the Hudson River. NJ Department of Environmental Protection has submitted an application to EPA for a no discharge designation of the Hudson River in NJ.

Pumpout Stations back to top

Pumpout stations provide boaters a safe and sanitary way of removing and treating sewage. There are various types of pumpout stations (e.g., stationary units, portable units on vessels) as well as locations for them. Most pumpout stations can be found at marinas. NJ does utilize pumpout boats, and one of them, the Royal Flush (Click Here), is located on the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers as well as Sandy Hook Bay. There is a $5.00 maximum fee associated with the use of pumpout facilities.

If you do not know how to pumpout your boat, there is a pumpout procedure (Click Here) on NJDEP’s Clean Vessel Act Web site.

Look for this sign when trying to locate a pumpout station in your local waterways.

Boat Launching and Fishing Access Sites back to top

Boat launching and fishing access sites can be found at certain locations throughout the Harbor.

Recreational Fishing Regulations back to top

Whether you are fishing off of a dock or a pier or from a boat and you are keeping your catch, then you should be aware of the marine fishing regulations as well as the health advisories for fish consumption in both NY and NJ. Fishing regulations are in place to conserve fish, crabs and shellfish populations from being depleted.

  • NJ Marine Recreational Fishing Regulations | Click Here
  • NY Marine Recreational Fishing Regulations | Click Here

Health Advisories for Fish and Crabs back to top

The New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary supports a thriving recreational fishery for many species of fish, as well as for crabs. Some people rely on their catch as an important portion of their diet. If you catch and keep fish or crabs from the estuary, there are a few things you should know before you make your favorite seafood recipe.

Health advisories are issued by the states for some species of fish and crabs caught in our local waters due to elevated levels of contaminants, such as PCBs and dioxins. In general fish are very nutritious, but because of the presence of contaminants in some of them, specific guidelines should be followed if you plan on eating locally caught fish.

You can lower your exposure to harmful contaminants by following the health advisories issued by New York State Department of Health and those issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and NJ Department of Health and Senior Services. These advisories and guidelines for preparing and cooking fish and crabs can be found on the websites below.

For those of you who like to fish, but choose not to eat your catch, the practice of catch and release can be employed. For more information on catch and release techniques, see this brochure (PDF) produced by NJ Sea Grant (Click Here) or visit NY Sea Grant’s Fishery Resource Web site (Click Here).

Additional information on levels of contaminants in fish is summarized in the HEP report, Harbor Health/Human Health: An Analysis of Environmental Indicators for the NY/NJ Harbor Estuary. A revised version of this report is due out in early 2004.

Other General Boating and Fishing Tips back to top

  • Do not throw plastics or any other wastes from any vessels. Be sure everyone on board uses receptacles for trash and recyclables.
  • Never discharge used motor oil or other engine fluids into the water. Follow motor oil recycling procedures at the marina.
  • Be careful not to lose fishing lines or nets in the water. Lost nets and lines can entangle and kill birds, fish, and other wildlife.
  • When scraping or sanding boat bottoms, catch old paint and shavings for on-shore hazardous waste collection.
  • Use non-phosphate detergent when cleaning your boat.

Now that you know how to boat and fish in an environmentally responsible way, get out on the water and enjoy the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary!

Fishing and Boating Links
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New York/New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program • 17 Battery Place, Suite 915 • New York, NY 10004
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