A new public pier and dock has recently opened in downtown Boston. The facility, which opened for use on October 21, 2011, provides access to the Fort Point Channel and Boston Harbor.
According to Steve Hollinger, a local boater, kayaker and owner of Kayalu kayaking gear in South Boston, explained that P&G Gillette, which purchased a large parcel of land along the channel, is required to provide public space and access to meet state requirements. The company paid for and maintains the new dock and pier, which features a long, metal gangway and large floating dock moored to pilings. It is very well constructed.
Parking for dock users is available at 4 designated spaces inside the Channelside parking lot, adjacent to the channel, although these are usually taken by non-pier-users. If no space is available, kayakers can pull up alongside the staging area and unload their gear before parking in the lot. Parking is $12/day on weekdays, and $6/day on weekends.
Currently, the new dock can only be used by paddlers and other non-motorized watercraft. According to Hollinger, who has created an outstanding website FortPointPier.com that describes everything you need to know about the pier, touch-and-go use or short-term tie-up may be available in the future, especially if the boating public makes its voices heard (see below).
Another unfortunate restriction dictates that the dock cannot be used after dark and before sunrise, which limits its use by kayak fishermen, who often fish at night or very early in the morning. Hollinger, who plans to host evening events along the Fort Point Channel, is asking regulators to reconsider the restrictions. He argues that if Boston’s boaters and paddlers can share the water at night, they should not be prohibited from tying up to a public dock for a brief respite or touch-and-go access.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, usage of the pier and dock is still being addressed.
The public is invited to comment by contacting:
Mr. Ben Lynch, Program Chief
Waterways Regulation Program
Department of Environmental Protection
One Winter Street, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Att: Andrea Langhauser