Since its inception as a nonprofit organization in 1985, Community Rowing Inc. has guided more than 15,000 students in invigorating rowing sessions held on the Charles River. Their experienced staff of Olympians and coaches helps students to become familiar with industry-standard boats and rowing machines through comprehensive introductory lessons and extended handshakes with the rowing arms. After gleaning the skills necessary to properly use equipment, students gain access to locker rooms, training areas, and any additional courses on the Charles River. The full-body, calorie-burning workouts are available throughout the week, allowing students to learn essential techniques such as sweeping, sculling, and dealing peacefully with the water road rage of aggressive gondoliers.
In the early ’70s, Boston-area resident Mike Farny dreamed of creating affordable outdoor recreational activities for his community to enjoy. In May of 1973, Mike set up shop in the MDC Norumbega Police Substation of Newton/Auburndale and began realizing his dream. The location—directly next to the historic Totem Pole Ballroom—perfectly enabled the environmentally friendly practice of canoeing and kayaking. Mike's vision blossomed over the years to include four other locations, each offering rentals, tours, and instruction.
Today, on-staff guides lead tours of the Charles River and Boston Harbor to educate participants in ecosystem conservation, view the skyline and sunset, or explore historic structures. Select trips also include lunch to fuel participants as they navigate difficult waterways and jump through flaming hoops. To prepare customers entering the water for the first time, instructors coach riders of all levels in private or group lessons at the paddling school, which draws on more than 30 years of instructional tradition. Staffers can also equip boaters in the shop—where P&H and Boréal kayaks hang alongside Tahoe paddleboards and Wenonah canoes, dreaming of one day being the inspiration for a traditional sea chantey. Crew members help clients choose their ride and accessories from these selections and others through free daily demonstrations.
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.
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.
During tours with Massachusetts Bay Lines, passengers can watch the sun dip behind the city from the middle of the harbor. Lights flicker on across the skyline, poking holes in the setting darkness and pinpointing each building's location. All the while, the water laps against the side of the boat, providing a soothing soundtrack.
Massachusetts Bay Lines has specialized in stunning views such as these for nearly 50 years. The family-owned company operates out of Rowes Wharf in downtown Boston, and its fleet includes a total of five unique vessels, instead of just one boat with a different name painted on the side each week. Customers can rent these boats out as private charters, or they can climb aboard for music and group tours of the harbor, which cruise past the 200-year-old USS Constitution and many more of the city's historic sites.
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.