Soon it will be braving the wind and the waves, cruising through Boston Harbor on commuter runs, but right now the Champion has that new car smell. Or should that be new boat smell?
MBTA officials smashed a bottle of champagne onto the boat Wednesday at Long Wharf, christening it before a small crowd of officials and media gathered on the dock on a bright sunny fall morning.
The 150-passenger, high-speed catamaran, which is slated to go into service later Wednesday, has all the latest features and amenities, officials said. Its cleaner-running waterjet engines whirred but couldn’t be smelled while it was idling at the dock. There are plenty of AC outlets and small tables. Flat-screen TVs will display information, including the location of the boat along its route. A snack bar was stocked and ready.
The boat also offers areas for wheelchairs to be secured and companion seats, including on the open back deck of the boat. And it features an induction loop system so announcements can be played directly into people’s hearing aids. The boat is “fully accessible,” a first for the T, said deputy general manager Jeff Gonneville.
Luis Ramirez, the T’s new general manager, said the purchase of the boat showed the T’s commitment to “all forms of mobility, including water.”
Mimi Lannin, T deputy general manager for commuter rail and ferry, read a traditional prayer that began, “May you always see the way wherever the journey takes you” then smashed the champagne. Fortunately, it was in a plastic bag, so no glass scattered on the brand-new boat.Martin Finucane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.