City Splash

Thank you for supporting our 6th City Splash!

This once-a-year opportunity is only possible with a special use permit from the Department of Conservancy and Recreation. Most importantly, it’s possible thanks to community members like you who care about access to swimming in the Charles!

On our first Charles River Swimming Day, we had over 300 participants in the river, some splashing with us and others swimming in the Charles River Swimming Club’s One Mile Swim, with many more on land! We’re inspired by all of you who share a passion for urban river swimming with us, and it gave us so much joy to see your smiling faces in the water. We will continue to advocate for the river’s water quality and look forward to the day when regular swimming is back in the Charles.

To learn more about our Charles River Swimming Initiative, read more here and stay up-to-date with our e-newsletter.
Enrique Pepen
A veteran City Splasher jumps into the Charles!
We were excited to host a variety of on-land activities including food from Crooked Pops and Bon Me. Photo by Helen Cai

City Splash is a community event that provides the public the rare opportunity to swim in the Charles River and raise awareness to bring river swimming back to Boston! This annual state-sanctioned swim, hosted by the CRC, allows the public to experience the joy of swimming in the Charles River—one of the cleanest urban rivers in the United States! The event is held in a demarcated deep-water area off the Fiedler Dock on the DCR Esplanade in Boston. Due to important safety considerations, swimming in the Charles River is only allowed if a permit is obtained from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (MassDCR) and we work in partnership with MassDCR to obtain a Special Use Permit for this unique event. The CRC has a vision to create a seasonal home for swimming in the Charles, but does not encourage swimming in the Charles outside of permitted events.  

Participants jump into the Charles River at the 2017 City Splash swim. Photo by Aram Boghosian.


The CRC is grateful for the support of sponsors who make this event possible.

Backflip Sponsors

Corkscrew Sponsors

Can Opener Sponsors

Think your organization would be a good sponsor for future events? Please review our sponsorship flyer and contact our Executive Director Laura Jasinski at


State House News Service: Swimmers return to the Charles River this summer (April 27, 2022)
Beacon Hill Times: Charles River Swimming Day (April 28, 2022)
WBZ News Radio: ‘City Splash’ Returns To The Charles River This Summer (April 28, 2022)
Boston Magazine: If You Want to Take a Swim in the Charles River, They Can’t Stop You on June 18 (April 29, 2022) Cool off with a state-sanctioned dip in the Charles River (May 4, 2022)
Boston University News Service: LISTEN: Day of Swimming at Charles River Returns After COVID-related Cancellation (May 4, 2022)

See our press page for coverage of past events.


“There’s something really great about fresh water. It’s just a great feeling to be able to jump in water that, on a hot day, makes you feel clean and refreshed and invigorated.”– Paul Parravano, Resident, via the Boston Globe

“It would be great if they did this more often…I would be happy if any day you wanted to, it was OK to jump into the river.” – Tim Sullivan, Resident, via the Boston Globe

“It’s a fun, safe swim, and it’s part of the Conservancy’s and my efforts to bring swimming back to Charles.” –State Rep. Jay Livingstone, via the Beacon Hill Times

“When you’re in the water and you look out and see the view, it’s incredible,”– Kathleen McDermott, Resident, via the Boston Globe


The Charles River Conservancy’s first City Splash on July 13, 2013 marked one the first public community swims in the Charles River in more than fifty years. Swimming has been prohibited in the Charles since the 1950’s when a growing awareness of the health risks posed by pollution in the Charles caused the beaches and bathhouses lining the river to close. After years of environmental health progress, most notably the EPA’s Charles River Initiative, swimming is now allowed through state-sanctioned events such as the Charles River Conservancy’s City Splash events and the Charles River Swimming Club’s annual One-Mile Swim Race, which began in 2007.


  • 1995: EPA Initiative
  • 1996: Governor Weld Dives into the Charles
  • 2004: The CRC launches the Charles River Swimming Initiative
  • 2013: The CRC hosts the first Charles River Community Swim in the lower basin in over 50 years
  • As of 2021: over 1,200 community members have jumped into the Charles River
Swimmers at the first City Splash event in 2013.

Lead photo by Topher Baldwin.