Swan Boats (Boston, Massachusetts) in Cambridge
The Swan Boats are a fleet of pleasure boats operating on the lake of the Public Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The boats have been operating since 1877, and have become a cultural icon for the city. They operate from April until September.
Robert Paget created the first swan boats in 1877, reputedly inspired by Wagner's Lohengrin. The oldest of the six boats in service date back to 1910 and 1920 respectively. The Paget family still own and operate the Swan Boats, and the design was copyrighted and trademarked in the 1980s.
The current Swan Boats carry around 20 passengers, seated on transverse benches, on a 15 minute figure of eight voyage around the lake. The boats are 30 ft, and are formed of two pontoons in a catamaran arrangement. They are manually propelled by a crewmember, often a high school or college student, who pedals and steers the craft from within the swan outline shell at the stern. The pedals drive a paddle wheel situated between the boat's twin hulls.
The Swan Boats are famed for their appearance in the stories of Make Way For Ducklings and The Trumpet of the Swan, and are often portrayed in tourist guides and other books about the city. In 1954 service was interrupted during the summer for the first time when city officials drained the lake due to the death of thirty ducks due to an infection.