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I Had A Dream I Was Swimming In Boston Harbor—Would This Be Advisable?

A few nights ago I had a dream that I was swimming in Boston Harbor.

(Above–Boston Harbor and the Boston Skyline from Spectacle Island.)

In this dream, the water I was swimming in was calm and blue. I was near a beach.

Not far away from where I was swimming, was an industrial portion of the harbor with power plants and factories.

Do people swim in Boston Harbor? Is it safe to swim in Boston Harbor? How polluted is Boston harbor?

It does seem that people do swim in Boston Harbor. Here is the link to an event where people swim around the harbor to raise money for charity.

I’m not sure what this tells us because  the people doing this appear to be active swimmers who would swim anywhere for the challenge—Though they do not appear  to die on the spot after they get out of the water. They do serve this guinea pig function.

As for normal people who would like to use the harbor , there is a group called the Boston Harbor Association that has a focus on water quality issues. They say they are for a “Clean, alive, and accessible Boston Harbor.”

Here is some of what the Harbor Association says about the cleanliness of water in the harbor—

“Water quality at Boston Harbor Beaches has improved dramatically over the past decade due to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s Boston Harbor Project and water and sewer projects being implemented by the Boston Water and Sewer Commission. These projects are eliminating long-time bacteria problems associated with wastewater discharged into Boston Harbor and the number of days that beaches are closed due to water quality issues has continued to decline. Most of Boston Harbor Beaches meet swimming standards over 90% of the time.”

If the water is safe to swim in 90% of the time, I guess my chances are nine in ten that I was okay after the swim in my dream.

(Below–Boston Harbor in 1973. Picture taken by Michael Manheim.)

Some of you will recall that the condition of Boston Harbor was an issue in the 1988 Presidential campaign. George H.W. Bush asserted that his opponent, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis had not done enough to clean the harbor. Here is one the ads from the 1988 campaign that attacked Mr. Dukakis.

It sure is something that a Republican could get the edge on an environmental  issue. They must have been laughing it up at the Bush campaign.

Here is the link to the advocacy group Save The Harbor. If you poke around this site you’ll find facts about the harbor and a list of links to news stories involving the harbor.

The Massachusetts Water Resource Authority has many facts about the harbor and about harbor beaches.

Here is a list and some facts about Boston-area beaches.

A book on the harbor that I’ve not read is–Political Waters: The Long, Dirty, Contentious, Incredibly Expensive but Eventually Triumphant History of Boston Harbor—A Unique Environmental Success Story. This book is by Eric Jay Dolin. While the length of the title is a turnoff, I’m sure the book is quite useful. Mr. Dolin wrote a book I’ve read about the history of U.S. commercial whaling and he is well-informed on these New England nautical topics.

I don’t know why I had this dream. It could because I was in Boston two years ago. It could be that my father once told me that he swam in what was then a very dirty Providence River when he was a kid.

Whatever the reason for the dream, it does seem that, in most cases, you can swim in Boston Harbor.

(Below—A 1854 painting called Boston Harbor. The artist was Fitz Hugh Lane.)

July 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment