Must-Know Rules for 2020 Summer Boating During COVID 19

This summer will be different… And with some minor adjustments we can all still have a great time on the water. We’ve aggregated the best suggestions for boating this summer 2020 season. We want to make sure our waterways stay safely open this summer, so the responsibility is ours. Share these tips with your friends and family!

Get Ready Ahead of Time

  1. Check on the rules in your state, city, and any areas where you are planning to travel before you leave. This is especially important if you are planning to use transient slips or moorings, and/or will be crossing into another state.
  2. Only go boating with your immediate family; a single household that has been isolated and not exposed to the virus.
  3. Put together a checklist of everything you need before you go, including water, food, sunscreen, VHF radio, chargers, and importantly – gloves, masks, wipes, etc. Double check to make sure you have everything before heading to your boat.
  4. Take only what you and your family can carry yourselves: asking others for help is exposing both you and them.
  5. Call ahead to marinas, fuel docks, boatyards, bait shops, or anywhere else you plan and/or might need to visit. These places are working hard to put together policies and protocols that will protect you as well as their own workers.
  6. Make a plan to limit contact with people outside of your family during your trip. This applies to public ramps, boat yards, marinas, docks, restaurants, etc.
  7. If you’re launching your boat, think ahead about what the whole process is going to look like, so you can prevent unnecessary proximity to others and practice healthy social distancing.
  8. Make sure everyone else in your family knows your plans, and understands what they should and should not be doing while on shore. Its always a good idea to have a float plan too!

Launching & Casting Off

  1. You and your family should keep a safe minimal 6 foot distance from others at all times; and wear gloves when handling anything others have touched (e.g. railings, fuel pumps, shared lines, etc.)
  2. Follow the launch and interaction protocols established by your marina, yacht club, public launch sites, etc. These rules are in place to protect you, as well as the people that make your boating possible.
  3. If you are launching make sure the ramp is clear, and launch as efficiently as possible.
  4. Manage your crew to ensure people are not congregating in parking lots or on docks and ramps; have them board the boat as soon as it is safely accessible.
  5. Do not enter any buildings such as stores, restaurants, marina offices, etc. unless you’ve made arrangements with staff prior to your visit, and/or there is an emergency.
  6. Plan to avoid public restrooms, however if required use masks and disposable gloves.
  7. Make sure you have the fuel (and extra!) you need; and when at the fuel dock avoid use disposable gloves when handling pumps, and avoid contact with staff by calling ahead with your credit card

On the Boat

  1. Keep an appropriate distance from other boats while on the water, at the dock, and on the beach; especially avoid rafting up with others on moorings or at the dock.
  2. Call ahead to places you plan to visit,  check whether they are open and what protocols they will expect you to follow.
  3. At anchorages make sure that your boat has extra space to swing so as to avoid hitting other boats (this is kind of a no-brainer, but more important now than ever).
  4. Find places to visit and anchor that are as secluded as possible: enjoy the freedom and peace of quiet!
  5. Boat responsibly! Don’t boat while drinking, respect wake rules and think about the effect of your wake on smaller boats, wear life jackets, and respect one another: this is not the time to have or cause an accident.
  6. If an emergency happens comply with the directions of the coast guard and other responders; their protocols have also been updated to keep all of us as safe as possible.

Getting Off the Boat

  1. Plan to dock, get your boat on your trailer, and settle your dinghy, with only the help of your family. Tell your crew what to expect ahead of time, make sure they understand their responsibilities, and avoid having them congregate while they wait for you.
  2. Take your trash with you to dispose of at home if possible. Otherwise use gloves if your marina allows you to deposit it onsite.
  3. Keep the same vigilance of avoiding contact with others–keep a minimum of 6 ft distance apart–while wrapping up at the marina, public landing, or boatyard.