On March 10, over 200 beach lovers braved not only the chilly winter waters but also snowy weather and plunged into Boston Harbor at the BCYF Curley Community Center in South Boston as part of the 9th annual Harpoon Shamrock Splash to benefit Save the Harbor/Save the Bay and the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Better Beaches Program.
This year, the “pledge and plunge” fundraiser raised more than $50,000 for the Better Beaches Program, which provides grants to community organizations that host free events and programs on the region’s public beaches. Jamaica Plain resident Trevor Etheridge won a roundtrip JetBlue ticket for being a top fundraiser for the event, with $1,655. Each year the program supports free concerts and beach festivals, sand-sculpting competitions, and youth programs on public beaches in Lynn, Nahant, Revere, Winthrop, East Boston, South Boston, Dorchester, Quincy and Hull.
“Thirty years ago nobody wanted to go swimming at the region’s beaches and today, they are some of the cleanest urban beaches in the country,” said Save the Harbor President Tani Marinovich. “It’s amazing to see the community that supports this event and supports our beaches from Nahant to Nantasket.”
Before the sprint into the ocean, Boston 25 Meteorologist Vicki Graf was on hand to deliver a real-time weather report — although the air temperature was 34 degrees, the water itself was a balmy 40 degrees!
Even though everyone was already wet from the snow and rain before splashing into the Harbor, 2019’s Harpoon Shamrock Splash was the best one yet, with splashers enjoying delicious brunch burritos from Baja Taco Truck and fresh, hot chowder from Daily Catch while Mix 104.1 played music on the beach. Harpoon beers invigorated participants after their plunge.
“I love when it snows on Splash day,” said Bruce Berman, Director of Strategy and Communications for Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, who has splashed every year since the event began. “We’re hearty here in New England and the only thing we love more than snow is the beach.”
“All of us at Harpoon look forward to taking a quick dip into the icy water after our Harpoon St. Patrick’s festival to support a great cause and warm up with a refreshing Harpoon, brunch burrito, and clam chowder on the beach with our friends from Save the Harbor/Save the Bay,” said Harpoon Brewery President Charlie Storey. “Sure it was cold in the water, but the warm feeling you get from giving back to your community stays with you for a long time.”
Participants won JetBlue flights and great Harpoon swag for reaching fundraising goals. In addition to Etheridge, Mary Cole from East Boston, who raised $1,530 and received the most donations to her splash, won a JetBlue ticket for being a top fundraiser. The two costume contest winners, Elaine Howley of Waltham, as the Banana Minion, and Joe Skahan from Lynn as Beaker from the Muppets, won JetBlue flights as well for their creativity and enthusiasm. Second place costumed splashers were Jane Kepros of East Boston, who dressed as a goldfish, and Nick Russo of South Boston, who dressed as Aladdin. They won swag from The Harvey Traveler Collection. The costume contest was once again judged by Kennedy Elsey of Mix 104.1. Every splasher and contributor also had the opportunity to win prizes in two post-splash JetBlue flight raffles.
“At JetBlue, we are committed to our community and fun is one of our core values,” said Donnie Todd, Corporate Responsibility Liaison for JetBlue, who led a team of 30 participants. “More than 3,500 JetBlue crewmembers call Boston home, we cherish our harbor and proudly support Save the Harbor/Save the Bay and the work they do on the region’s public beaches.”
Members of Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s leadership team were also key fundraisers, but were ineligible to win JetBlue flights. Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s Chair of the Board, Joe Newman from Arlington, raised $3,401. Bruce Berman, Director of Strategy and Communications from Brighton, raised $3,115. Save the Harbor’s Vice President of Programs and Operations, Chris Mancini from Somerville, raised $2,577.
The top five teams also raised significant funds at this year’s Harpoon Shamrock Splash. Save the Harbor/Save the Bay topped the list with $15,964, followed by JetBlue with $10,990 and the Piers Park Sub-Aqua Warriors with $4,950. Team YES raised $3,162 and Team Harpoon! raised $2,720.
“Save the Harbor would like to thank event sponsors at Harpoon Brewery, JetBlue, Mix 104.1, Baja Taco, The Daily Catch, The Harvey Traveler Collection, Unreal Candy, Stony Brook WholeHeartedFoods, and the Blue Sky Collaborative,” said Marinovich, “As well as our Better Beaches Program Funding Partners at The Boston Foundation, Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation, P&G Gillette, National Grid, Comcast, Beacon Capital Partners, and New England Picture.
“We would also like to thank the Massachusetts Legislature, the Baker-Polito Administration and the Metropolitan Beaches Commission for their support for our beaches,” Marinovich continued, “And, our program partners at the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Boston Centers for Youth and Families and the Greater Boston YMCA for their support.”
As the region’s leading voice for clean water and continued public investment in Boston Harbor, the region’s public beaches, and the Boston Harbor Islands, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s mission is to restore and protect Boston Harbor, Massachusetts Bay and the marine environment and share them with the public for everyone to enjoy.
For more information about Save the Harbor/Save the Bay and the work they do, please visit their website at www.savehtheharbor.org, their blog “Sea, Sand & Sky” at blog.savetheharbor.org, or follow savetheharbor on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can download a copy of the most recent Better Beaches program report at http://savetheharbor.org/Content/2018_Beaches_Report.pdf