FREE rides for kids every weekend.
Big Toot is a former US Navy launch. Now she is owned and operated by Project City Kids. Big Toot is based from North Cove Marina in Battery Park City, Lower Manhattan. Every weekend from May through October, she goes out on short (50 minute) trips in the harbor. Kids from all over New York City are invited down and can ride for free (adults pay $10).
Length & Trip Route: The length of each trip is approximately 50 minutes. The routes of each trip vary throughout the year as we find more and more great things to see in the harbor. We usually offer a circumnavigation of the Statue of Liberty as well as a circumnavigation of Governors island every day. Be sure to join our email list so we can let you know the scheduled trips for next weekend.
Schedule: Big Toot operates on Saturdays and Sundays.
Schedule for Sunday May 22
Capacity: Each ride can hold a total of 40 passengers (kids and adults together).
Where to meet the boat: Big Toot departs from Dock F at North Cove. For directions on how to get to North Cove, please visit www.TheNorthCove.com.
Costs: All kids ride for free! Tickets for adults are $10 each. Fees from adults help pay for the free rides for kids. Kids under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Each adult may bring up to 6 kids.
First Come First Served: There are no reservations. This is a first-come, first serve program. Please arrive at the dock prior to boarding. If you arrive down at North Cove and there is a line larger than Big Toot's capacity, you can stop by the Floating Classroom (in the southeast corner of the marina) and get a launch pass for a trip later in the day.
Loading and Unloading: The launch arrives back from each trip at approximately 50 minutes after the hour. The captain and mate will first disembark the previous passengers. Then new passengers will be loaded. Passengers with launch passes will be loaded first. After this, passengers will be loaded from the front of the line. If capacity is reached before you get on, you will be given a launch pass for the next launch. This will give you a guaranteed spot and also some free time to visit one of the beautiful nearby parks or restaurants.
Weather and High Winds: Big Toot does not operate in inclement weather. If there is steady rain or high winds (too much splashing), Big Toot will stay at dock.
Questions and How to Communicate with Big Toot: Project City Kids is a small organization and does not have the ability to field telephone calls. During weekends, the Big Toot staff will be operating the vessel and not able to communicate by phone. If you are concerned about the weather and the possibility of Big Toot not running, we suggest that you postpone your trip for a better day with higher probability. As this program grows, we hope to provide a telephone number where you can call on weekends to speak with our staff. In the meantime however, please just come down if you are able. If it might be a big inconvenience for you to come down and the trip not happen or is sold out, then postpone for a better day. Thanks for your support as we get this program up and running.
Special Trips for Groups Which Serve Youth: If you have an organization which serves kids, you can reserve Big Toot for your own special ride int he harbor. Rides can be offered any day or time of the week depending on availability of captain and crew. Please send an email to Commodore Michael Fortenbaugh. We will do our best to accommodate you. The cost for chartering Big Toot for a special trip (up to 2 hours) is $490 and you can bring up to 40 total people (kids and supervisors).
History of this Program & Thanks for Their Support:
Big Toot evolved from the Lil Toot Program which started in 2004. Lil Toot was a 26 foot Crosby launch built to look like Lil Toot, the baby tug featured in a popular children's book. When Lil Toot was introduced and began the free weekend rides for kids, we were amazed at the popularity and how many kids and parents wanted to go out for a short ride in the harbor. On some weekends, the program was totally sold out with a long line up the dock!
But because Lil Toot was a small boat and New York Harbor is a big body of water, PCK decided it would be safer for the kids to get a larger and more sturdy boat. In 2007, Lil Toot was sold to a charter operation in Maine where she now operates on a quiet river. Then PCK began looking for a larger vessel. The vessel selected was a 40-foot ex-Navy utility launch. This is the same vessel as "Admiral's Launch" which has been used by the Manhattan Sailing Club for their clubhouse launch. This former Navy vessel was built in 1983 by Willard Marine. She is a high quality and excellent vessel for operating in New York Harbor. Big Toot was acquired by PCK in 2008. She had previously been doing charter operations under the names "Glory" in Florida and "Island Time" in Connecticut.
Over the past year, PCK has been refurbishing and upgrading Big Toot. She has been brought back to Navy specifications and painted the same red and white of Lil toot. Big Toot is now Lil Toot's proud older brother who will take over operations for kids in New York Harbor.
Project City Kids would like to give a special thanks to former City Council Member Alan J. Gerson from Manhattan District One (Lower Manhattan). Alan's support and encouragement helped bring Lil Toot to life and now also brings Big Toot to Manhattan. Alan's support for the waterfront began at "Sail for America," one of the 9/11 commemorative events held in September 2002. During the Official Review overlooking the harbor filled with more than 1,200 sailboats, Alan said, "We need to more for the children of Lower Manhattan and reconnect them with our great waterfront." With this encouragement, PCK began the first teen sailing program in New York Harbor. Once Lil Toot was commissioned, PCK organized the first Kid's Day in the harbor. This evolved into Alan's Young Sailors Program which made it possible for public school kids to learn about their community's maritime heritage. Downtown's history is deeply entwined with the harbor.
If you ride on Big Toot and have great time, you can send a note to Commodore Michael Fortenbaugh, President of Project City Kids. If you have any pictures from your trip, the Commodore would like to see them. Thanks!