A new summer activity was unveiled Friday at West Beach in New Bedford. Mayor Jon Mitchell announced that kayak and paddleboard rentals are now available at West Beach off West Rodney French Boulevard.

“New Bedford’s coastline and its two public beaches are recreational assets that make us unique as a city. But making the most of these natural gifts takes people who are committed to caring for them and creating fresh opportunities for our residents to enjoy them. I applaud the work of all those involved," said Mitchell.

The City's Department of Parks, Recreation, and Beaches has been working for several years to bring new recreational programs to both East and West Beaches. Director Mary Rapoza was on hand for the ceremony and said, “there is already a long list of great reasons to visit New Bedford’s beaches, and we just added another one. We encourage everyone to come and take advantage of this exciting new opportunity for fun on the water.”

Photo: New Bedford Mayors Office

On Friday, kayakers and standup paddleboarders showcased some of the equipment available for rent from "Blue Lane Rentals" operating at the newly restored West Beach Boathouse.

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The Community Boating Center in New Bedford is operating the rental program. For more than 20 years, the Center has operated sailing and boating education programs at Fort Taber and at their Clark's Cove facility.

“In our sailing and education programs we see every day the positive benefits that come when people interact with the marine environment in fun and challenging ways, so we simply could not pass up this chance to collaborate with City to expand public access to a tremendous natural resource," the Community Boating Center's Andy Herlihy said.

The program is designed to ensure all residents have access to the new resource, with affordable rental rates, lessons, and an emphasis on safety. Hours of operation are Thursday through Sunday, 11 am-5 pm. Equipment reservations can be made online at bluelanerentalsnb.com.

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