Tag: Venice in kayak

Winter in Venice

Winter in Venice

Winter light is different, even if the weather isn’t very wintery here in Venice now. These photos are from a tour on December 27th around the city.

Kayak ban in Venice – new rules in force from tomorrow

Kayak ban in Venice – new rules in force from tomorrow

The recent kayaking ban on the Grand Canal and other canals has been partially overturned. The new rules are explained here. They will be in effect from tomorrow morning, April 23rd. The formal publication of the new rules are on the city’s web site: Disciplina […]

Kayaking ban in Venice – new rules

Kayaking ban in Venice – new rules

The rules for paddling in Venice city will be moderated from April 20th.

The new rules were decided by the city executive on April 3rd, published officially on April 9th and they’ll be executive ten days after publication.

The kayak/canoe/dragon/sup ban in the Grand Canal and other canals will be reduced to the hours 8am-3pm on weekdays and 8am-1pm on Saturdays. On Sundays and holidays there are no limits.

Venezia interdizioni kayak - percorsi blu

There’s a series of minor canals designated as “blue” canals, reserved for non motorised boats, running north to south through the city centre, and it will be allowed to cross the Grand Canal in proximity with these “blue” canals, giving precedence to all other traffic, even in the hours where normal navigation on the Grand Canal is banned. In this way it is possible to move about the city also before 3pm on weekdays.

All the rest of the city is available for paddlers at all times.

The new rules seem to indicate that it will be obligatory to carry at all times (also by day) a white light, visible at 360°, to be lit between sunset and sunrise.

The ban has not been lifted completely, but changed from a blanket ban on certain canals to a system of time limits, which is not really different from what gondolas, taxis and goods haulers also have to abide by, so I don’t think we can really complain. We’re not treated worse than other categories of traffic in the city.

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Kayaking ban in Venice – legal challenge

Kayaking ban in Venice – legal challenge

Venice has issued a ban on kayaks, canoes, dragon boats and more, which will be effective from Sunday, March 1st. This ban will harm the activities of several groups. The local kayaking association Arcobaleno has initiated a legal challenge to the new regulation banning kayaks […]

Kayaking ban in Venice – where and how to help

Kayaking ban in Venice – where and how to help

Venice has issued a ban on kayaks, canoes, dragon boats and more, which will be effective from Sunday, March 1st. This ban will harm the activities of several groups. All of these groups, together with the Italian Federation for Canoe and Kayak (FICK) and other […]

Vogalonga and the ban on kayaks in Venice

Vogalonga and the ban on kayaks in Venice

As I have written earlier, the City of Venice has made a partial but extensive ban on kayaks, canoes, dragon boats and others, effective from March 1st, 2015.

The Vogalonga is a rowing event that has been held in Venice every year for the last forty years. It is organised by a non-profit committee, the Comitato Vogalonga.

After the publication of the new regulations on February 11th, everybody expected a reaction from the Vogalonga committee, but they were silent. After much soliciting online, and maybe also offline, they finally made a statement on the 20th, on Facebook but not on their web site, and in Italian only.

The Facebook post received quite a lot of comments, and in there one of the members of the organising committee made a further statement.

I find it important that everybody knows the stance of the Vogalonga committee, so I have reproduced and translated (to the best of my abilities) the two statements below.

First statement (in Italian)

Il Comitato Vogalonga, valutati i vari aspetti della questione e le molteplici proteste anche a livello internazionale, si esprime rispetto all’ordinanza del Comune di Venezia circa la restrizione ad alcuni tipi di natanti a remi, come canoa e kayak, per la circolazione lungo alcuni canali del centro storico.

La congestione del traffico sempre più pressante e l’utilizzo di natanti da parte di persone inesperte e non edotte in merito alla navigazione nei canali interni di Venezia giustifica la presa di posizione del Comune che andrebbe però formulata in senso cautelativo per l’incolumità delle persone più che in senso restrittivo. Quindi, sarebbe auspicabile che i vogatori in questione venissero informati, preparati ed eventualmente accompagnati da persone qualificate prima di affrontare i percorsi cittadini piuttosto che interdire la navigazione a determinati tipi di imbarcazioni.

Rispetto alle proteste che stanno arrivando numerose da parte di circoli e associazioni italiane e da varie parti del mondo, il Comitato Vogalonga, che confida di poter fruire della deroga in occasione della prossima edizione, invita i vogatori a seguire itinerari che corrano nei canali non interdetti del centro storico e lungo i margini dello stesso e che soprattutto li portino a godere degli ampi spazi ed impagabili orizzonti lagunari.

Il Comitato Vogalonga sottolinea anche in questa occasione il proprio impegno per la salvaguardia della laguna e la lotta contro il moto ondoso.

First statement (my translation)

The Vogalonga Committee, having taken into account the various aspects of the question and the numerous protests, also internationally, expresses itself regarding the City of Venice’s new regulations, restricting the circulation of some types of oar driven crafts, like canoes and kayaks, in some of the canals in the city centre.

The ever worsening traffic congestion and the use of boats by inexpert persons, not informed in matters of navigation in the inner canals of Venice, justifies the intervention of the city administration, which, however, should have been phrased in terms of safeguarding the well-being of the persons rather than as a interdiction. Therefore, it would have been desirable that the rowers in question be informed, prepared and eventually accompanied by qualified persons before they embark on routes in the city, rather than prohibiting the circulation of certain types of boats.

With regard to the protests which are arriving in great numbers from clubs and associations in Italy and various parts of the world, the Vogalonga Committee, confident that it will receive a dispensation for the upcoming event, invites all rowers to follow routes which runs in the non prohibited canals in the city centre and along the edges of the same, which will also allow them to enjoy the ample spaces and priceless horizons of the lagoon.

The Vogalonga Committee wants to underline in this occasion too, its commitment to the safeguarding of the lagoon and the fight against wave pollution.

Second statement (in Italian)

This second statement, from a member of the Vogalonga committee and not officially from the committee itself, was in response to a comment of mine, that the committee has thrown in the towel.

Il Comitato Vogalonga non ha gettato la spugna …

La posizione del Comitato (di cui mi onoro di far parte), a differenza di qualcun altro che lucra sul noleggio e sulle visite guidate con kayak a Venezia, è quella di un confronto con la pubblica amministrazione che tenga conto delle esigenze e dell’incolumità di tutti senza prevaricarne i diritti. Il fatto che alcuni canali di Venezia siano eccessivamente trafficati, ha portato alla necessità di rivedere la regolamentazione del traffico interessando tutti i settori della navigazione. Il fatto che qualche mezzo pubblico di linea sia stato fatto fermare in mezzo al Canal Grande perché un paio di kayak a noleggio senza accompagnatore si stessero fotografando vicino al Ponte di Rialto non è da sottovalutare né da demonizzare, ma va presa in seria considerazione. Ovviamente il problema sta nel conducente o vogatore e non nel mezzo che si conduce, ed è su questo che bisogna focalizzarsi.

Il Comitato non è interessato alla sola voga alla veneta a scapito di altri tipi di voga, ne ad ottenere la deroga per la manifestazione (che tra l’altro è già prevista nell’ordinanza anche per altre manifestazioni). La precisazione è stata fatta poiché ci sono state richieste da tutto il mondo in merito al regolare svolgimento della manifestazione.

Prima di prendere una posizione, il Comitato si è confrontato con esponenti delle associazioni e delle federazioni per stabilire una presa di posizione ed è in attesa di un incontro per cercare una mediazione.

La Vogalonga vive grazie ai vogatori e ai sostenitori che vi partecipano e non è una attività commerciale ne sponsorizzata e vuole accogliere tutti i vogatori che amano Venezia e questa manifestazione partecipando e credendo nei valori che cerca di trasmettere.

Fomentare una protesta per salvaguardare la propria attività, come fa qualcuno, non è l’unico modo di affrontare i problemi che vanno prima analizzati e condivisi per cercare primariamente una soluzione condivisa.

Scrivo a titolo personale per spiegare cosa sta alla base delle scelte fatte, non avendo ancora avuto modo di confrontarmi con il resto del Comitato.

Second statement (my translation)

The Vogalonga Committee has not thrown in the towel…

The position of the Committee (of which I’m honoured to be a member), in opposition to other who profit from rental or from guided tours in kayak in Venice, is that of a confrontation with the public administration which takes into account the needs and the well-begin of everybody without infringing their rights. The fact that some canals in Venice has too much traffic, has lead to the necessacity of a revision of the regulations of traffic, with regard to al the sectors of navigation. The fact that some public transport vessels have been forced to an emergency halt in the middle of the Grand Canal because a couple of rental kayaks without a guide had stopped to take photos of the Rialto Bridge from close up, should be nor underestimated, neither demonised, but taken seriously into consideration. Obviously the problem is the pilot or the rower and not the vessel conducted, and focus should be on this.

The Committee is not exclusively interested in Venetian rowing at the cost of other types of rowing, nor in obtaining a dispensation for the event (which is already foreseen by the new regulations also for other events). This is underlined because there have been inquiries from all over the world about the execution of the upcoming event.

Before taking a stance the Committee has met with representatives of associations and federations to to find a common stance, and it is currently waiting for a meeting in search of a compromise.

The Vogalonga Committee lives thanks to all rowers and supporters who participate, and it is not a commercial activity, neither sponsored, and it wants to welcome all the rowers who love Venice and this event, participating and believing in the values it tries to transmit.

Instigating protests to save one’s own business, as some do, is not the only way to confront the problems, which should frist be analised and shared searching primarily for a compronise.

I write this on my own account to explain what is behind the choices made, as I have not yet had the possibility of hearing the rest of the committee.

Kayaking ban in Venice

Kayaking ban in Venice

The City of Venice has published a modification to the city traffic rules, which bans kayaks, canoes, dragon boats and others from navigating certain canals. The relevant text is this: Nei Rii principali interni di collegamento: Canal Grande, Cannaregio, Giardini, Greci – San Lorenzo, – […]

Lonely Planet video

Lonely Planet video

Lonely Planet visited Venice Kayak a while ago, and produced this little video.

High tide in Venice

High tide in Venice

We’ve had several days with high water lately here in Venice. Not extreme high water, but enough to be a burden for the locals and an amusement for the tourists.

The city canals are very quiet when the tide goes above a certain level, as most boats can no longer pass under the bridges, and we had planned to go paddling to enjoy having the city’s waterways mostly to ourselves.

First thing to notice is that at high tide there is quite a bit of rubbish and other stuff floating around, like this part of a bridge or dock.

Floating debris

Give the lack of traffic we quickly gravitated towards San Marco, here from the front.

View of St. Mark's

Here’s a gondola stuck under a bridge by the rising water, just behind Piazza San Marco.

This gondola isn't going anywhere

This is the view from the canal behind the square onto the Piazza San Marco. This is the lowest point level entry to the square, but there is far to little water to do any kind of stupidity.

Passage to the Piazza San Marco

I got out of the kayak and walked in though the water and found this view.

The Piazza San Marco under water

Flooding in Piazza San Marco starts in front of the basilica at a very normal level of 75-80cm, and at a level of 110cm there are up to 30cm of water on parts of the square.

Just because you can paddle in, doesn’t mean you can’t get in. While I was surveying the situation, one of the others came in pulling the kayaking along, just to get a few photos.

Piazza San Marco with one kayak

One then drags the next person in.

Piazza San Marco with another kayak arriving

While not exactly legal, the situation does create some photo ops.

Second kayak in the Piazza San Marco

Second kayak leaving Piazza San Marco

Kayak and reflection

Which a good deal of others onlookers weren’t late to spot.

Some people like the attention

Photographer on the hunt

Some people still like the attention

The others waited patiently for those fifteen minutes of fame (or infamy) to pass.

Others care a bit less

While tourists in their tourist high water protection gear watched baffled.

Tourists in tourist boots

After San Marco the tour went to the Grand Canal and the Rialto where the Erberia was covered in a bit of water.

Kayaks at the Rialto - Erberia

Somebody managed to get interviewed by national television (again).

Intervista
(screencapture from a video)

On our way back, passing San Marco again, we met this gondola.

Porcelino sulla gondola

Which carried a rather untraditional addition to the stern.

Porcelino sulla gondola

The water level was still high, and the gondola couldn’t pass the first bridge after the Bridge of Sighs, and had to turn around while we waited.

Gondola turning around because it cannot pass the bridge

Most of the fondamenta (sidewalks) had water up at the edge, which usually corresponds to a water level of between 100cm and 110cm.

Water still at street level

Reflections in Venice

Reflections in Venice

Throughout October we’ve had some fantastic reflections in the water. Less traffic and a different light are probably the main reasons.