A guide to City of Water Day

The fourth annual event on July 16 features new sailing classes, up to 200 paddle-ready kayaks, and a full slate of boat tours, seafood and waterfront activities.

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  • Photograph: Paul Margolis

  • Photograph: Ruth Gitto

  • Photograph: Bernard Ente

  • Photograph: Bernard Ente

  • Photograph: Bernard Ente

Photograph: Paul Margolis

1. Cast a rod in the Harlem River
Meet up with the intrepid Urban Park Rangers for a freshwater fishing contest. Not only will the Rangers loan you equipment and give you tips on how to catch your limit, they'll also discuss the ethics of angling and its impact on the ecosystem. Meanwhile, the Harlem River Park Task Force will discuss the green space's ongoing effort to link the local community with the shoreline (three of the six phases are complete). Meet at the Urban Park Rangers station at the riverfront and 139th St (212-935-9831). 10am--5:30pm.

2. Skipper a ship from Jersey
Hitch a ride on a gratis ferry, provided by NY Waterway, to Liberty State Park. Once there, you can sign up for free basic beginner's sailing lessons. Next, head to the park's North Field, where you can test your water-conservation knowledge during Clean Water NJ's trivia game. You can also check out designs that reenvision the harbor, including New Jersey Institute of Technology's and GRO Architects' proposed "docking stations," which would use water turbines to provide energy to New York and New Jersey. Liberty State Park, 80 Audrey Zapp Dr at the waterfront, Jersey City (212-935-9831). 10am--4pm.

3. Peep vintage watercrafts in Brooklyn
The Pegasus, a restored Standard Oil tugboat built in 1907, and the Waterfront Museum's 1914 Lehigh Valley Barge #79, which used to cart coffee and spices across the harbor, will dock at Pier 6 for nearly two weeks (July 14--26). Stop by to get complimentary tours of both vessels. Jeff Newell's New Triad Quartet will also present River Songs of America, a waterway-themed, family-friendly musical storytelling performance at the Waterfront Museum (1--5pm). Free kayaking at Pier 1, a demo on how to catch fish with a soda can and a squid dissection on Pier 6 round out the day. Brooklyn Bridge Park, piers 1, 5 and 6, East River between Atlantic Ave and Old Fulton St, Brooklyn Heights (718-222-9939, brooklynbridgeparknyc.org). 11am--5pm.

4. Envision a metropolis of H20
Get in a seafaring state of mind on Governors Island: Visitors will be able to jump on a guided cruise or power themselves around Liberty State Park in a one- or two-person kayak. Free catch-and-release fishing, an aqueous-critter touch tank and lobster rolls from the Red Hook Lobster Pound ($16) will help you appreciate the bounty of the sea. Later, take a waterfront ride on a borrowed cycle from Bike and Roll. Governors Island (212-935-9831). 10am--4pm. The Governors Island Ferry departs from the Battery Maritime Building, slip 7, at 10am, 11am and then every half hour until 5:30pm.

5. Paddle to a party
Paddling enthusiasts with their own equipment can join Kayak Staten Island for a leisurely two- to three-mile excursion from the club's boathouse under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to the Alice Austen House, where you'll be able to park your craft on the beach leading to house grounds. Once the sun begins to set, grab a spot on the lawn to watch Jaws. South Beach, Father Capodanno Blvd at Ocean Ave, Staten Island (718-816-4506). Kayaking: 3:30pm, film at 9pm.

City of Water Day is July 16. Visit cityofwaterday.org for full details and a complete schedule.

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