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Safe at Sea: Boating and social distancing

By Staff | Apr 28, 2020

COVID-19 is forcing everyone to navigate uncharted waters, including boaters.

Recently, the National Safe Boating Council established guidelines for boaters regarding “social distancing.” Many boaters most likely assume that by virtue of being on a boat, they are already doing so. However, the council is reminding recreational boaters to follow these guidelines.

As responsible boaters, it is important to understand that the primary purpose of stay-at-home orders is to limit the spread of the virus. Risking unnecessary exposure is not just a hazard for you – it puts law enforcement, emergency responders, seniors, and vulnerable populations in danger.

The following are the council’s tips for practicing social distancing and safety while boating:

– Limit the people aboard your boat to people in your immediate household. No guests, no friends, no grandparents who do not live in your house – you get it.

– Stay at least 6 feet away from other people who do not live in your house.

– Maintain safe distance at the fuel dock or loading up at the marina.

– After touching a marine gate, fuel pump or something someone else may have touched, wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer to disinfect them.

– Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to someone else if it could put you in close proximity to others.

– Go right from your house to the boat and back so that you do not have unnecessary contact with anyone.

– Do not go boating if someone in your household is sick.

– Pack food, water and other things you may need as restaurants and marina stores may not be open.

– Maintain proper hand washing – even onboard.

– Remember: We are all in this together!

Pat Schmidt is a member of America’s Boating Club of Sanibel-Captiva. For more about the chapter and the courses it offers, visit www.sancapboating.club or contact education@sanibelcaptivasps.org or 612-987-2125.