Monday, September 27, 2010

Welcome to Hudson

In August, some people from California sailed up the Hudson River in their 40-foot sailboat named Kokopelii. Their journey had started in San Francisco, their home port. They'd sailed down the coast of California and Mexico, through the Panama Canal, and up along the Atlantic coast to New York City, where they picked up a friend who lives in Hudson. The plan was to sail up the river to her home.

The group took their time on the river, enjoying the hospitality of marinas along the way. They stayed overnight at marinas in Croton-Harmon and Kingston. Wherever they stopped, the Kokopelii was welcomed. Marinas were thrilled to host a 40-foot sailboat that had sailed all the way from San Francisco . . . until it reached Hudson.

When the Kokopelii sailed into Hudson and tried to dock at the Power Boat Association, they were told to leave. Although there appeared to be plenty of available spots, they were told, "This waterfront is private--no visitors, no exceptions." The HPBA, it seems, maintains no spots that can be rented to visiting boats. The Kokopelii had to go across the river and dock in Athens. The California visitors were disappointed; the Hudson resident thoroughly embarrassed. 

The exclusionary "private" policy of the Hudson Power Boat Association, which apparently is not shared by other marinas along the Hudson, and the rude manner in which the policy was articulated by a member of the HPBA underline the bitter irony of calling Hudson "The Friendly City." Tourism is a component of our economic development strategy. Tourists, who buy local products, patronize local establishments, create tax revenue, and support local amenities, don't only arrive by car or by train. They also arrive by boat, and the Power Boat Association is turning them away.      


  1. The Power Boat Association should have it's "private status" removed immediately. This sole waterfront exposure to boaters needs to be a hands stretched out welcome to all nautical travelers. This town is NOT a 'gated community.'

    Interesting to note that between the two 'private' properties on "our" waterfront - The Power Boat Association and SLC / O & G - there's hardly anything left for the "our" part of Hudson !

  2. I heard the story of the boat being turned away, verbatim, from the Hudson resident and friends, on the day I was collecting petition signatures for the letter to Scenic Hudson and Open Space Institute regarding our waterfront - the friend told me the story and signed the petition willingly.

    It truly is outrageous that the City has not seen fit to change the status of this boat club, hogging one of the best spots on the waterfront for a handful of members and giving an impression like this to visitors from California. All over the world boat clubs whether private or not, welcome visitors by boat.

  3. Can you imagine the horror of allowing a boat powered under sail to take refuge at your Powerboat Association dock, that's harboring the enemy - literally! Hahah, Love this City!

  4. We have had three groups of boaters stay at The Inn at Hudson over the last few years. They paid the boat club by the foot to dock there over night. I wonder if their policy changed.

  5. Windle--Do your guests make arrangements in advance? Perhaps that's the difference. The boat club may not be staffed to deal with "sail-ins."

  6. Sail-ins are an economic issue for the entire community-- we either want the trade, or perhaps the boat club feels the town is "rich enough" without water tourists--
    The Other Issue which lurks in the murky, is whether or not Hudson Tax Payers have reasonable access... should we buy permits like the Hamptonites we take such pains to differentiate from... or just mumble and grumble and take our boats and business to Catskill while we argue among ourselves for another decade? Whatcha think?

  7. Yes we made arrangments for our guests to dock at the boat club in advance. Actually it was 2 power boats and 1 sail-in last year.
    This year our kayakers (Albany to NYC) were not allowed to store at the waterfront so we put their kayacs on our cars and stored them here.
    There is definatly not a sense that boaters are welcome.

  8. My understanding is that there are only 4 spots for transient boaters in all of Columbia County.

    It clearly would be good for the County if there were more accommodation for these visitors. Catskill and Greene County (where tourism is the #1 industry) make lots of money from their marinas and associated businesses.

  9. The good news is that using two grants, the City is installing floating docks to accommodate small craft. The City Dock is being lengthened, and the two inlets will have floating docks for both boats and kayaks. Work begins this fall and should be completed in the spring. I have the plans if anyone wants to see them. E-mail me at

    --Ellen Thurston