From the hallowed field at Fenway Park to the educational havens of Harvard and M.I.T, Boston's history is written across its skyline. The area's nearby waterways allow for mostly unencumbered views of these sights, and guided boat tours let sightseers experience the city in a relaxing way. To this end, Charles Riverboat Company's vessels embark on journeys across the Charles River and Boston Harbor. Architecture tours guided by an expert from Boston by Foot and run together with BSA Space, Boston’s premier cultural institution on architecture and design, and home to the Boston Society of Architects, the tour's captains and crews point out historic sights such as famous buildings or the 100-story kettle used during the Boston Tea Party. Sunset tours offered under the warm glow of the setting sun wind through the river as music plays. Charles Riverboat Company also charters their boats for groups of up to 150.
With a history of nautical scholarship that dates back to the mid 1930s, Community Boating Inc. has graduated thousands of students from its hands-on sailing school and into the ranks of skipperdom. Seasoned instructors lead classes for all ages, with separate youth, adult, and universal-access programs to ensure that the sweeping vistas, invigorating mists, and albatross necklaces of seafaring can be enjoyed by all. Certified students and members can take jaunts across the Charles River atop a kayak or Mercury sailboat borrowed from Community Boating Inc.’s 100-strong fleet of windblown and man-powered vessels.
Head instructor Francois Asselin has guided Boston Sailing Center's neophytes to seaworthiness for more than 15 years, with his programs reaching more than 400 students annually. Mr. Asselin and his cadre of nine other sailing instructors take small groups onto the water to provide hands-on experience with the ropes, sails, steering, and maintenance of sailboats. Together, they introduce the science of seamanship or sharpen the skills of experienced sailors so they can eventually set sail on their own with a complete mastery over wind, water, and doing jumping jacks with a peg leg.
Boston Sailing Center owns an armada of vessels, which, in addition to lessons, may be rented for on-the-water events or lent out to members for regular sailing. Skippers conduct tours of Boston Harbor's skyline, stopping at scenic islands for impromptu picnics or to let parents maroon angst-ridden teenagers.
At the age of 16, Matthew "Matty" Hughes became the youngest-ever licensed captain in the port of Boston. Funneling his passion into a career, he founded Boston Harbor Cruises in 1926 to lead tours up the Charles River. What began as a two-man, one-boat operation has grown tremendously throughout its more than 90-year history, now encompassing a 21-boat fleet and more than 250 employees who transport more than 2 million passengers.
The Boston Harbor Cruises's staff handles all things nautical, from whale watching and speedboat tours to wedding receptions and celebrations for special occasions. Because dolphins are hard to saddle and refuse to obey verbal commands, Boston Harbor Cruises also navigates the waters with ferries and harbor cruises that explore the historic and romantic sights of Boston.
Though the leadership has changed, Matty's grandchildren Rick and Chris Nolan still perpetuate the traditions of Boston Harbor Cruises, furthering one man's obsession with the harbor and inspiring future generations to create their own memories on its calm waters.
Docked adjacent to the New England Aquarium, the Liberty Star and the Liberty Clipper look distinguished. The Liberty Star measures 67 feet long and can hold up to 39 passengers, and the Liberty Clipper measures 125 feet long with a capacity for up to 100 passengers. The massive schooner is an authentic replica of an 18th-century Baltimore clipper ship, thoroughly modernized to transport passengers on Boston Harbor sails and longer private charters. They sail daily throughout the harbor for public and group outings, along with private charters for special events, such as weddings or corporate proms. For a longer respite, they hoist the sails and steer southwards where the Liberty Clipper sails the Bahamas and the Liberty Star sails the Virgin Islands on adventure sailing vacations.
Determined to convert waterways across North America into party corridors, On Cruises deploys its fleet of festivity-ready ships along the rivers and lakes of major cities under the helm of experienced skippers. A host of themed cruises—including a haunted Halloween ghost-ship cruise populated by costumed guests and phantoms in their regular clothes—facilitate floating celebrations, and after-work cruises enable guests to unwind offshore.