By Matt Conti
Sail Boston, Inc., Boston Police, US Coast Guard and other public safety officials held a community meeting in the North End, emphasizing the tight security procedures to be in place for the arrival of the Tall Ships Regatta in Boston on June 17th.
With over one million spectators expected along Boston’s waterfront, Conventures head Dusty Rhodes described the magnitude of the festivities beyond that of the last 2009 Tall Ships visit. The 5-day event starting on June 17th will be highlighted by a Parade of Sail with the 50+ ship regatta through Boston’s inner Harbor. There has not been a Parade of Sail in Boston since 2000, and 1992 before that.
As far as special highlights on the day of the harbor parade, there will be a US Navy jet flyover kicking off the event on Saturday, around 10:15 a.m. However, Sail Boston, Inc. confirmed there are no fireworks planned.
Saturday, June 17th will see the most activity during the 9am-3pm Parade of Sail, where 50+ tall ships will enter the inner Boston Harbor for a water parade past the Seaport / South Boston, North End, East Boston, Downtown Waterfront and Charlestown. Immediately after the parade, the ships will dock at their respective ports for public viewing through Wednesday, June 21st with the ships departing on Thursday, June 22nd.
The Tall Ships are coming from Europe to Bermuda, then Boston which is the only U.S. port where the fleet will stop as part of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta. After Boston, the fleet departs for Canada Day on July 1st and the 150th Anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.
Sail Boston has confirmed 52 tall ships from 13 nations. The Parade of Sail will be led by the US Coast Guard Barque Eagle on June 17th, entering the harbor around 10 a.m. The USS Constitution will not be participating as she will still be in dry dock until later this summer. Other tall ships participating can be viewed on the Sail Boston website.
Kicking off the festivities will be a US Navy Jets Fly-Over on Saturday, June 17th at approximately 10:15 a.m.
Boston Police and the Coast Guard are putting very tight security in place during Saturday’s June 17th Parade of Sail. There is the “secured area” for the North End waterfront where the water side will be restricted. Barriers will be put into place along Atlantic Ave. and Commercial Street with a limited number of Entry and Exit points where screenings will be performed.
Commercial St. and Atlantic Ave. will be open to traffic, but no vehicle access will be allowed in the secured area (including all the waterfront wharves) from early morning on June 17th until the Parade of Sail is over around 3-4pm.
Twenty-one screening areas entry/exit points will be spaced out along the waterfront including Atlantic Ave. and Commercial Street. In the North End, screening entry/exit checkpoints include Christopher Columbus Park, Sargent’s Wharf, Battery Wharf, and Rowes Wharf.
Many items will be prohibited in the viewing areas along the waterfront. Notably, backpacks, coolers, bicycles, pets, glass containers and drones are all restricted from the waterfront areas.
Boston Police said all the major viewing areas along the waterfront will be secured, such as Christopher Columbus Park, Castle Island, the Harborwalk, Rowes Wharf, Long Wharf, Puopolo / Langone Park, etc. and will have screened entrance and exits. No parking will be allowed on Atlantic Ave. and Commercial Streets.
Two tall ships will be berthed at Rowes Wharf, with others at the Seaport and Charlestown. The Coast Guard base will remain closed to the public, although there will be some ships docked there. Private boats will also be restricted from the harbor during Saturday’s Parade of Sail.
Ferry service and commuter boats will be suspended. The T will be running rush hour service on Saturday.