Announcements Health & Environment

Boston Harbor Now Partners with Greater Boston Community Groups to Provide Free Public Access to the Harbor and Harbor Islands

This summer, more than 6,700 residents of Boston and surrounding communities joined Boston Harbor Now for free cruises around Boston Harbor and to the Boston Harbor Islands.

The American Indian Foundation, The American City Coalition, Authentic Caribbean Foundation, East Boston Main Streets, East Boston Social Center, GreenRoots, Piers Park Sailing, and the Veronica Robles Cultural Center partnered with Boston Harbor Now to provide free community cruises to communities around Greater Boston: Chelsea, Chinatown, East Boston, Mattapan, and Roxbury, as well as the Caribbean, Indian, and artist communities of Greater Boston.

Boston Harbor Now expanded the free community cruise program from three in 2017 to nine this year by involving more community groups throughout the area.

“Many of the people joining us for these free cruises had never been on Boston Harbor before,” said Rebecca Smerling, Director of Program and Special Projects at Boston Harbor Now. “We started doing these cruises as a way to introduce more people to Boston Harbor and the Boston Harbor Islands. These unique public assets belong to everyone in the area and these community cruises created thousands of new fans who will continue coming back year after year.”

The cruises introduced participants to the sights and sounds of Boston Harbor, as well as the Boston Harbor Islands and the various activities available on each island. Participants were able to explore beaches, picnic on the beach, dine on the Harbor, learn about the history of the islands, discover hiking trails, visit Fort Warren, and enjoy panoramic views of Boston and the harbor.

“The harbor and the Boston Harbor Islands present Boston and the surrounding communities with opportunities for entertainment, education, fitness, and culture,” said Kathy Abbott, President and CEO of Boston Harbor Now. “By increasing the number of community cruises this year, more residents were able to experience these public assets and take advantage of all they have to offer. The harbor and islands truly have something for everyone and we’re happy to play a part in connecting residents to them.”

In all, Boston Harbor Now has hosted more than 29,900 people on free cruises to the Boston Harbor Islands and around Boston Harbor this season.

This free access was made possible by the generous support Boston Harbor Cruises, the Lynch Foundation, The Boston Foundation, the Yawkey Foundation, and the National Park Service.

Though summer is coming to an end, there are still opportunities to visit the Boston Harbor Islands at no cost. An end of season Free Ferry Day is planned for Sunday, October 7. Additionally, as part of the Boston Public Library’s Museum Pass program, two-for-one ferry passes are available at participating libraries to anyone with a valid library card. The two-for-one ferry passes are now available to use on weekdays or weekends.

The 2018 Boston Harbor Islands season ends on Monday, October 8.

For a complete schedule of activities happening on the waterfront and harbor for the rest of the season, visit