Amendment Would Study Ship Use for Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Recovery Services

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Senate has approved legislation to convert a cruise ship into The Floating Hospital for Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Recovery, taking a page from the Commonwealth’s public health history – to create new temporary housing, medical and supportive services for those battling substance use disorder and mental health issues, including those camped out in the Mass and Cass neighborhood of Boston.

“For years now, the situation at Mass and Cass and throughout our city and Commonwealth have worsened without suitable state intervention,” said Senator Collins. “Now is the time to pursue new, creative ideas to address a humanitarian crisis affecting thousands of people and families throughout the area. The Floating Hospital would provide our healthcare professionals with a state-of-the-art facility in which to provide care, all while addressing the pressing public health and safety needs of the city.”

The fiscal year 2023 state budget allocated $597 million dollars for opioid recovery, harm reduction, and other addiction-oriented policies and programs. The state also contributed $40 million toward attempted interventions in the area known as Mass and Cass last year. Senator Collins’ amendment would consult the Naval Construction and Marine Engineering program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as to the feasibility of converting a cruise ship into a floating hospital for mental health,
substance abuse, and recovery services. In February, MIT produced a feasibility study commissioned by the United State Navy on converting a cruise ship to affordable housing.

This medical vessel would have all the facilities needed to respond to patients’ acute and chronic health needs, provide for primary and specialty care, mental and behavioral health and dental services. Furthermore, it will provide stable temporary housing with wrap-around services while ensuring a secure setting equipped with food services, health and recreation facilities.

There is precedent for the state creating a floating medical facility. Beginning in 1894, medical professionals in Boston came together to operate The Boston Floating Hospital to serve poor children battling illness by treating them on a medical vessel in Boston Harbor. This resource helped create a health care facility for the most vulnerable patients in the city. By providing a clean environment and compassion-based treatment, they were able to care for those most at risk,
while decreasing risk of infection across the city.


  1. Popeye Rollins May 26, 2023 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    Sounds like a great idea, but Hingham Harbor would be a better location. On second thought, as soon as the ship is filled up, cast the lines and set sail on a one way voyage to Greenland.

  2. M Watts May 26, 2023 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    Use that money to re- open Long Island Hospital.
    We don’t need a ship .
    We need the Hospital opened .

  3. Frances O’Connell. Saunders May 26, 2023 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    The news ref: hospital ship in South Boston is wonderful: As a 1949 graduate of the. Carney Hospital which was then in South Boston just made me very happy even with many passing years

  4. Peter lannigan May 30, 2023 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    WU will give that island away or screw it up . Just remember like many things Mr Walsh started the ball rolling fast on destroying this city and for some reason the drunk began on destroying that island which was a great place for many addicted ppl to get treatment along with single moms needing help. Etc etc.

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