And the first question that springs to mind: Tetanus shot?

Charles swimmer

The folks at Prompt Boston looked out the windows of their 14th-floor offices in Kendall Square this afternoon to spot "one brave man swimming the Charles River."



Free tagging: 


They actually have done a

They actually have done a pretty good job cleaning up the river and harbor over the past couple decades. I believe some of the river by Watertown is even considered a swimming area, no?
But I also was under the impression there is still sewage overflow, and some problems right by Kendall with that power station.

According to this site, you can swim in most of the river, most of the time:

I happened to be running

I happened to be running along the Esplanade on a Saturday morning earlier this month as the club was holding their annual mile race. Impressive turnout, 100+ swimmers. I see others swimming on their own elsewhere on the river occasionally, usually further upstream by the Eliot Bridge.


I've swam in the Charles for the past three summers, and the last two, nearly every day. The water is definitely safe to swim in if you follow the two rules: don't swim for a few days after a heavy storm, and don't touch the bottom. The Charles is BY FAR my favorite place to swim in the Metro Area. I've even swam in Dot Bay, and then hustled on my bike to the Charles to wash off all the salt and sand.

dock rat 4 lyfe


Tetanus? Don't you mean Hepatitus?

Clostridium tetani (bacteria that causes tetanus) doesn't live in water, and its spores don't accumulate in water.

The biggest health threats from swimming in urban waters like the Charles or local beaches would be Hepatitus virii and Streptococcus.

And Vaughn K. is spot on - swimming after heavy rains where you're likely to come into contact with urban or farm runoff is plain wicked stoopid.

Or ignorant

I had a friend who moved to Boston to work at a university, and in Newcomer Enthusiasm, got his sailing permit, went sailing, and on every sailing trip, went for a swim off his boat. He was in Boston a few months before anyone told him not to do this, then was horrified.

And yeah, the river's swimmable 60+% of the time.

years ago, when the Charles

years ago, when the Charles river was badly polluted and had sewage lingering in parts of the Charles long after a storm, Community Boating would allow sailing, and as often happened, some boats would capsize, dumping the sailors into the polluted water. Community Boating used to restrict beginning board sailors to the lagoon, which was one of the dirtiest parts of the river. How people survied that is beyond me.

I belonged to Community

I belonged to Community Boating around that time, and they told us that if we did capsize to take a shower at once. I never capsized, but I think they had showers in the boathouse itself.

Ironically, what they really wanted to avoid more than capsizings was collisions, because they had to be reported to the Coast Guard, whereas capsizes didn't. Never had a collison either.

Worst trouble was from wise-guy MIT sailors who liked to sail across from their area and lord it over us. They're probably all off making deadly weapons now.

Charles River is a great

Charles River is a great place to swim though NOT after heavy rain. I've swam in the Charles River here and there since the 1980s - whether through sailing on the Charles (capsizing/windsuring) or jumping in during a canoe ride.
Deal is just don't touch the bottom.
Grew up swimming in the beaches of Dorchester Bay too and surprisingly survived that even though it was 10x dirtier back then than it is now.
Anyone out there who remembers the beach days at Tenean Beach as a kid? Or jumping off the Savin Hill bridge as a teen?
Lots of fun, but thinking about the taste of the water still gives me the willies. No 3-eyed progeny so far %-)