With everything going on with COVID-19, it’s only natural to question the safety of recreational activities . In this analysis safe includes considering whether you properly social distance while outside your home? With boating, the short answer is yes. However, this doesn’t mean we’re boating as usual. Certain precautions and practices need to be taken in light of social distancing requirements. It’s important to check what the rules are in your state when it comes to recreational boating. Our blog last week covers this, read it here.
Boaters are often doing their best to navigate uncharted waters or unforeseen weather conditions, but now we all need to be mindful of social distancing as well. From boat launches to marinas and everything in between, here are your best practices for following social distancing guidelines while boating.
Going Boating While Safely Social Distancing
1. Limit the People Aboard
Keep boating this year to the family members or friends you’ve been in quarantine with. Boating is normally a great opportunity to bring guests along. Not this year. Keep your boating activities strictly to those in your home.
2. Don’t Tie up to Other Boats
Don’t raft up with others or get too close to another boat. The most important part of boating during these times is to keep a distance from others.
3. Be Careful in Common Spaces
Take extra precaution when in common boating spaces like marinas, fuel docks and boat launches. Wear gloves and a mask in these places. You’ll most likely touch the same surfaces as others, like the fuel pump or marina gate lock. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer once finished.
4. Prepare Ahead of Time
As you might usually stop at a store on the way to the marina or boat launch, try to avoid this or do so with the utmost care. Pack your food. Order gear and supplies online ahead of time.
Mechanical Issues While Boating – Will You Receive Help?
If you’re out on your boat and it has a problem, you may be wondering if there are rescue services operating as normal. This is a valid question. You can rest assured that on-water towing assistance from all the majort fleets remain open and will respond to your call.
Search and rescue emergency teams, like the USCG and state agencies are also active. Due to the constant changes with this emergency and protocols, you should double and triple check tha these services are open in your area before heading out on the water.
Cleaning a Boat During COVID-19
Just as you’ve been disinfecting your home and any outside products that come in, it’s important to do the same with your boat. The virus is able to live on solid surfaces for several days, making it vital to keep your boat extra clean.
Follow the recommendations from the CDC and your state. This includes disinfecting all surfaces with an EPA-approved disinfectant. Be sure to a less harsh disinfectant as some surfaces on your boat may not handle the harsher options.