Erie Canal Adaptive Kayak Launch Brockport
17 Feb

The Village of Brockport installed its BoardSafe Adaptive Kayak Launch in June 2021 to accommodate truly inclusive paddling. The adaptive system is located in downtown Brockport along the Erie Canal. One of the challenges for this project was a nearly 20-foot-high concrete wall along the entire area, meaning the gangway for this project needed to be engineered from the walkway along the wall and down to the dock.

There has been a tremendous increase in kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding over the last several years. COVID has added to paddlesports’ popularity. Visitor research completed for the Erie Canalway National Corridor in 2017 reported that 42% of visitors would like to canoe or kayak on the canal. You can see the presentation below:


In the years since that research study has been completed, it’s very likely the percentage of visitors interested in paddling the canal has increased. However, most small towns have not improved their canal access points or made provisions to include the disabled community. Launches that have not been improved and launches that have been built in accordance with minimum ADA standards still exclude a large group of adaptive paddlers. Adaptive paddlers require a launch with specific adaptive features. Adaptive athletes find great joy in getting into their vessel and out onto the water with their family and friends.

Read more about BoardSafe's exclusive adaptive products here.

Since the canal is considered a "navigable waterway,” the Erie Canal Corporation stipulated the entire dock system could only project a minimal distance into the canal. BoardSafe Docks identified a design solution that included a cantilevered walkway with support arms attached to the concrete wall. The walkway provided the solution as well as the necessary attachment point for the gangway that ran parallel to the concrete wall and attached to the floating dock. The adaptive launch was attached to the opposite end, allowing for safer and easier access for persons in wheelchairs.

A second challenge at this site was keeping the dock system in place. BoardSafe analyzed the options and recommended that two vertical I-Beam pilings be bolted to the concrete wall and piling guides be attached to the floating dock. This solution allowed the dock system to move up and down as the water level fluctuated, keeping the dock in the same position in relation to the concrete wall.

This custom project included a 5' x 6' landing, a 4' x 16' gangway, one 8' x 20’ floating dock, one Clip-a-Launch 16Dual that allows entry from both sides, and two custom I-Beam pilings and piling guides.

The total cost of this project was about $45,000.

Brockport is on the National Register of Historic Places and is known for its Victorian downtown district. The College at Brockport, State University of NY, is also located here and is recognized for offering the first Adaptive Physical Education Program in the country. It’s fitting that the Village of Brockport understands the need for equity and inclusion in providing an accessible waterfront and saw value in the BoardSafe Adaptive kayak launch with specific adaptive features, ensuring that paddlers of all abilities can experience the joys of paddling the Erie Canal.

Read a local article about the installation here.