Welcome to Charles River Clean Up Boat


2017 is the 14th year that the Charles River Clean Up Boat has kept the Charles River free of floating trash and marine debris.

We are very efficient, effective and most of all safe. Again, in 2016 there were no accident, or injuries. This is always our primary objective. Helped by fine weather, we did not miss many days due to rain. This allowed us to keep to on schedule, and stay ahead of the trash build up. Other than after the 4th of July, most days we collected 2 bags, or less. This is our goal, keep the river so clean that after going from Watertown to the harbor, and checking all the nooks and craneys where floating trash accumulates, we have less than 2 bags of trash.

About 50% of the trash we remove is recyclable. With the help of the Cambridgeside Galleria we make sure that which can be recycled, is recycled.

As to volunteers, they could not have been better. A nice sunny day on the Charles River is a treat, and the word is getting around. We published the schedule for 2015 in early April . This year every day through the first week of October had at least one person signed up to crew by July 20. By mid August, every day had a full boat. So please choose your days early.

Also, thanks to Amy, at the Museum of Science and Nancy Free for scheduling all the volunteers and keeping the schedule straight.

Four  other men are key to keeping the Clean Up Boat running effectively. They are the Captains: Tom Soisson, Bob Gaffney, Jim Jadul and Mitch Lunin. These men have the skill and professionalism to captain the boat, week after week, without problems. Also, they are very loyal, Bob and Tom have been with the boat for 9 years and Mitch for 8 years, Jim joined us in 2015.

After 8 years of being our webmaster, Robert Canterbury is stepping down and we are lucky to have Brilliant Geeks, LLC taking over the responsibility. Please take a look at the new format they have created for us, your comments are welcomed. They are a growing company and always appreciate new clients.

Funding has not gone as well as last year. We lost a few past donors and don’t have any replacements. There may be some unexpected late donations, but next year we need some publicity and I have to work harder at finding new donors. Deb Howe, Mike Bello and Cindy Brown are helping, and it is appreciated. We don’t need a lot, but we have to pay our bills. The many donors who help us, year after year, are what keeps us going. A number have donated every year since we started. They are all proudly listed on our website, and on the boat.

If you take everybody involved in this effort, they add up to about 350 people. If you are going to select 7 1/2 miles of river, running through the heart of a major metropolitan area, and clean it 4 times every week, Spring, Summer and Fall, you need a lot of help. And we have it, it is you. I know of no one doing more than they can, or want, to do, but as a total we get the job done.

I looked at the river yesterday and only found one floating bottle. Based on that, I,believe it is ready to be enjoyed by thousands of visitors from around the world who come to our hometown, to enjoy The head of Charles. No, I don’t row, but I take pride in playing a part in making sure the Charles looks it’s best for this event.

You should all take a moment and reflect on what you have accomplished, pat yourself on the back and take a walk along the river enjoying the foliage.

See you in the spring,and like winning a game of pinball, we get to do it all over again.


By the way, other cities would like to have an organization like the Charles River Clean Up Boat. Each year, people contact me for information, and help, in setting up an organization to clean their rivers and harbors. Mobile, Alabama is the most recent to contact me. I give as much information, and help, as I can, but without a lot of people like you, doing whatever they can to help, they do not succeed. The approach of trying to force under funded government agencies to keep the river clean usually fails, and only makes the lawyers rich. Our approach of the river cleanup works well, and you are part of a great bunch of people who just get the job done.

The Charles River is a wonderful asset, we all do a great job of taking care of it, and everyone should take a few minutes to enjoy it. Spring is here.

rivertrash1Without the Charles River Cleanup Boat, this is what the river would look like.
This is an actual photo taken from the Cambridge side of the Longfellow Bridge.

A day on the river can be very enjoyable. We do not go in bad or uncomfortable conditions. If the weather threatens we come in. Our intent is to make the volunteer’s experience fun and rewarding. Many people bring their mates, friend, or children and find the day to be a quality experience. Click here for Volunteer Information and directions. To see the volunteer schedule for what dates are open, click on Volunteer Calendar and contact Tom McNichol at 508.877.3624, or cleanupboat@yahoo.com.