The Official Website of the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game
Massachusetts is blessed with over 1200 miles of seashore and hundreds of lakes, ponds, and streams which make the Commonwealth an exceptional destination for all types of boating and fishing. The Office of Fishing and Boating Access (FBA) is charged with providing access to these many waterways. Presently, the agency oversees boat and canoe launch sites at over 250 coastal and inland locations in Massachusetts, giving residents and visitors extensive opportunities to enjoy fishing, canoeing, sailing, waterskiing, and recreational boating statewide. The FBA is the smallest of three agencies within the Department of Fish and Game. In addition to the construction of access sites, the FBA also provides engineering, construction, and technical services to the other agencies in the department-- the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife and the Division of Marine Fisheries.
The FBA manages the construction, repair, and operation of state boat ramps, canoe and car-top launch sites, parking areas, and approach roads. The FBA oversees facility design and construction, which is usually done by private contractors or municipal public works departments. FBA funds are also used to construct fish piers and purchase shoreline fishing areas. Ultimately, the FBA is working to locate boat launch facilities at close enough intervals throughout the state so that none of them will be overused.
Unlike most state agencies providing recreational facilities, the FBA has no regional staff to assume direct daily management of sites. Therefore, cleanup and general maintenance of sites is performed by personnel from state agencies such as the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, the Division of State Parks and Recreation, the Division of Urban Parks and Recreation, and the Highway Department, as well as by city and town workers.
Most state boat ramps are open free of charge to the general public. However, some heavily used sites are authorized by the Department to collect user fees in order to recover the costs of site maintenance and daily management. All sites which collect such fees must charge the same amount to all users, and the facilities must be open to the boating public on equal terms. Unlike FBA sites, boating facilities acquired and constructed entirely with municipal funds may charge higher fees to out-of-town users or restrict usage to town residents.
Appropriations for the acquisition, construction, and maintenance activities of the FBA come from several sources. The FBA receives state bond appropriations, and federal reimbursements are provided for some projects by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under the federal Sport Fish Restoration Act.
FBA staff review requests for boat launching facilities and conduct site investigations to determine the feasibility of developing new access sites. The minimum criteria that must be met for the FBA to consider a proposed facility are as follows:
Your suggestions and comments as to selection of sites, or any other phase of the Board's activity, are welcomed. Correspondence should be addressed to:
Office of Fishing and Boating Access
1440 Soldier's Field Rd.
Boston, MA 02135
For related sites see Project Access in the Sportsmen's Jump Page in the Links section.