For Immediate Release - June 17, 2009


Convention Center Authority, Massport help ensure public safety funds available to allow access to scaled-back event

BOSTON, Wednesday, June 17, 2009- Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino today announced a plan that will allow for public access to the Tall Ships visiting Boston in July free of charge. Due to financial challenges faced by the organizers of the Tall Ships visit, Sail Boston, Inc., as well as constraints on state and city budgets, the event has been scaled-back compared to prior years. However, the lack of funds for essential public safety services during even this downsized event had put in jeopardy public viewings of the ships.

"I am very pleased that local families and visiting tourists will be able to take part in this wonderful occasion free of charge," said Governor Patrick. "I'm thankful for the hard work and cooperation of Mayor Menino, state and city public safety and tourism officials, and particularly the efforts of the Convention Center Authority and Massport that will allow for this important civic event to go forward."

"Government works best when all parties work together. I am grateful to Governor Patrick and all of our partners for working collaboratively to boost business in Boston without having to sacrifice precious city resources," said Mayor Menino. "Hosting a public event that is both free and open to all will be a welcome attraction this year as many of our residents and families are cutting back on vacation travel."

The plan brokered by the Governor and the Mayor includes a $1 million contribution by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) to fund essential public safety services and the agreement by the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) to bear the costs of the ships docking at Massport's piers. The City of Boston will directly receive $750,000 of these MCCA funds for their public safety expenses. The remainder of the MCCA funds will go towards the additional expenditures the state will need to spend to allow public access to the ships. In addition, Sail Boston, Inc. has agreed to put forward $250,000 of its funds towards additional State Police costs.

"I am proud that the MCCA can play a role in welcoming Sail Boston and securing this landmark event for its many local, national and international visitors," said James E. Rooney, executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. "Our mission at the MCCA is to generate significant economic impact to the region, and this event and the energy and vitality it brings to the South Boston Waterfront, is consistent with that mission."

"Massport is pleased that money is available to defray the costs of a public event which residents and tourists will be able to join," said Massport CEO & Executive Director Thomas J. Kinton, Jr.

"This is a great event for Boston and for Massachusetts, and we thank the Governor, Mayor, and the Convention Center Authority. The tall ships visiting Boston is an important international event, and locally greatly anticipated, and Sail Boston looks forward to making this event memorable both for the visiting crew and for the visiting public," said Scott Ferson representing Sail Boston.

Public viewing and access to the Tall Ships will occur from Thursday July 9 to Sunday July 12, with the 49 participating ships coming in over several days in advance. The Boston event will include all of the Tall Ships that are participating in the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge plus a number of other Tall Ships representing at least 20 countries. After the Boston visit, the ships will sail on their next leg in Halifax, and then from Halifax to Belfast.

The public will be able to view ships at a number of piers, including Battery Wharf, Long Wharf, Rowes Wharf, Moakley Courthouse, Charlestown Navy Yard, World Trade Center and Fish Pier. The public will be able to actually board some of the largest and most popular Tall Ships only at the Charlestown Navy Yard, Fish Pier, and the World Trade Center. These ships will be accessible from 5-10 PM on July 9-10 (Thursday and Friday), and 12 PM to 10 PM on July 11-12 (Saturday-Sunday).

As previously announced, financial constraints on the part of the organizers will not allow for a Parade of Sail (ships entering the harbor at the same time) or two previous planned fireworks displays.