Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spring is in the air!

Well everyone, Spring is finally showing itself here in Boston! That's right!
Frog Pond is filled up, cherry blossoms are blooming, tulips are poking out, and of course, the beloved Swan Boats are awaiting their passengers in the Public Garden.

Every year when these unique and beautiful boats hit the water it is a sure sign that Spring has hit the city. The boats have been a Boston tradition and trademark since 1877 when Robert Paget created the first Swan Boat to sail the pond in the Garden. The first boats were single seaters that could only carry about 8 people.

Today's boats are replicas of the originals, but the oldest of the six boats in service date back to the 1910's and 20's. For over 130 consecutive years the Paget family has owned, operated, and maintained these boats in their original glory and have also kept the tradition that Paget started alive and well.

Last week I caught a rare glimpse of the Paget Family assembling and prepping the Swan Boats for their opening day on April 16th. I talked with some of the members of the family about the assembly of the boats and their current specifications. At their present state, the boats can hold about 20 people seated on transverse benches. The boats are 30 feet long and are formed out of 2 pontoons, making them almost like catamarans. The boats are manually operated, usually by a college student (Man I should get that job!). The crew member pedals thee almost bicycle-like mechanism which is located in the swan shell at the back of the boat. The pedals then power a paddle wheel that is located in between the two pontoons. 

Here are some pics of the assembly!

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