Swan Boats open May 8
For the first time in its history, this annual rite of spring did not take place last year due to COVID-19 and the Paget family is pleased to bring this tradition back to the Public Garden. In keeping with current health guidelines masks are required and passengers will be safely spaced both in line and on the Swan Boats.
Launched in 1877 by Irish immigrant and shipbuilder Robert Paget, the Swan Boats continue to be owned and operated by the Paget family. Mr. Paget designed the Swan Boats after attending the opera Lohengrin in New York City. At the end of the opera, the hero crosses a river in a boat drawn by a swan.
2021 marks the 144th season for the Swan Boats. The oldest and smallest boat in the fleet just celebrated its 111th season, while the newest was launched in 1993. The swan on today’s boats is made from either copper or fiberglass, depending on the age of the boat, and encloses a paddle mechanism that is used to foot propel the boat through the water.
Fully loaded, each Swan Boat weighs three tons and is powered by the driver using a foot-propelled paddle wheel. The Swan Boats are built on oak framed pontoons sheathed in copper just as they were initially constructed in 1877. After being stored in a safe place for the winter, the boats are returned to the Public Garden Lagoon in the spring.