The Whaler enters the lagoon along the Esplanade. Photos/New England Boating, Tom Richardson.

The Whaler enters the lagoon along the Esplanade. Photos/New England Boating, Tom Richardson.

Yesterday (September 25) I took a fascinating trip along the lower Charles River. My guide was Larry Russo Sr., President of Russo Marine, whose lifelong passion for boating began on the river. He also happens to be a font of Boston and Charles River lore.

Passing through the locks with the Zakim Bridge above.

Passing through the locks with the Zakim Bridge above.

We started off in Charlestown, where Russo launched his Boston Whaler 250 Outrage at the public ramp on a small side channel off the Mystic River. Ten minutes later we were passing through the locks of the Gridley Dam as downtown traffic roared and rumbled around us. After passing below the Zakim Bridge and the Amtrak bascule bridge, we made our way upstream through the old locks near the Science Museum and into the peaceful Charles River basin.

Aside from amphibious Duck Boats, we were the only power boat in sight—remarkable considering the beautiful autumn day. The rest of the trip was spent meandering upstream, with Russo pointing out the various historical and architectural landmarks along the river.

A confession: Although I grew up in the Boston area, I had never boated on the Charles, so this trip was a real eye-opener. I saw the city from a brand-new perspective—a freshwater perspective. Like Boston Harbor, the Charles was once a reviled waterway, but has since been cleaned up to the point where people can now safely swim in its waters. It is an incredible resource for Boston-area boaters.

Stay-tuned for more on Charles River boating in the next issue of New England Boating Magazine, as well as a feature video on this website.

Tom Richardson
Editor/Co-Host
New England Boating

A new perspective on Boston.

A new perspective on Boston.

MIT sailboats enjoy the lower river.

MIT sailboats enjoy the lower river.

Remains of the old lock.

Remains of the old lock.

Community Boating

Community Boating

Below the Zakim Bridge.

Below the Zakim Bridge.

A duckboat heads for the ramp.

A duckboat heads for the ramp.

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