Why Is There No Swimming Allowed In Jamaica Pond?


As it turns out, although Jamaica Pond seems shallow from the shoreline, it’s actually a kettle hole formed by a glacier— and has a depth of more than 50 feet in some places. What’s more, the drop-off can be extremely steep. Ryan Woods, spokesperson for the Boston Parks Recreation and Development, once told the Jamaica Plain Gazette “It drops like a black hole, creating a dangerous situation.”

In fact, swimming in Jamaica Pond was banned after two drownings in the mid-1970s. Before that, swimming was enjoyed for generations, and the Pond was even a popular site for massive Four of July celebrations and swimming contests in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The subsequent ban hasn’t totally prevented additional tragedies: The most recent drowning in the pond occurred in 2007 when a woman drowned fully clothed near a shallow beach on the northern end. There was a public debate in 2008 about bringing swimming back to Jamaica Pond, but it was quickly dismissed over such safety concerns.

Read Boston Magazine

jamaica pond boston photo

Photo by marzianademarzo

About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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