City of Boston Spectator Guidelines for the 2016 Boston Marathon

Those interested in attending the Boston Marathon this year are being asked for their cooperation in following reasonable and common sense guidelines that will help ensure the safety and security of participants, volunteers, and spectators. 

Spectators intending to watch the 2016 Boston Marathon in the City of Boston should expect a significant presence of uniformed and plain clothed police officers. Spectators approaching viewing areas on the course, or already in viewing areas on the course, may be asked to pass through security checkpoints, and law enforcement officers or contracted private security personnel may ask to inspect bags and other items being carried. Additionally, spectators along the race route are encouraged to carry personal items in clear plastic bags. Using a clear plastic bag will enhance public safety and speed security screening. In all cases, spectators should keep their personal items under their immediate control at all times. Unattended items may cause delays. 

Spectators along the course are discouraged from possessing any of the items listed below. Possession of any of these items may result in delays when passing through security checkpoints and enhanced screening:

  • Weapons or items of any kind that may be used as weapons, including firearms, knives, mace, etc. 
  • Backpacks or any similar item carried over the shoulder. 
  • Suitcases and rolling bags/rollers. 
  • Coolers. 
  • Glass containers or cans. 
  • Flammable liquids, fuels, fireworks or explosives. 
  • Any container capable of carrying more than 1 liter of liquid. 
  • Handbags or packages or bulky items larger than 12 inches x 12 inches x 6 inches. 
  • Large blankets/comforters, duvets, sleeping bags. 
  • Costumes covering the face or any non-form fitting, bulky outfits extending beyond the perimeter of the body. 
  • Props (including sporting equipment and military and fire gear). 

The B.A.A. and the Boston Police Department also encourage the public to actively participate in the "See Something, Say Something" campaign. Spectators are asked to be aware of their surroundings and to report suspicious conduct or items to the closest law enforcement officer or by calling 9-1-1.


In addition, public safety officials are asking the public to assist in creating a No-Drone Zone along the entire course at this year's Boston Marathon. The use of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) anywhere in the area of the course, including above runners and spectators, is strongly discouraged.