Safe Social Distancing

oating safety is always—always—a critical consideration whenever you push off the dock, but with all the recent issues regarding COVID-19, many people are wondering if boating is considered a safe social distancing practice.

As boaters everywhere do their best to navigate these uncharted waters, we’ll do our best to serve as a reliable resource in answering some questions about boating during the coronavirus—following best practices for social distancing on the water.

Is Boating a Safe Social Distancing Activity?

The short answer is yes, but the long answer is a bit more involved.

First and foremost, all the usual rules apply:

  • You need to limit the people aboard to those family members you share your home with, period—no guests.
  • You also can’t raft up with other boats or pull up onto a beach close to another boat, as that could put you in close proximity with the occupants.
  • You also have to be careful to maintain a safe distance from others when doing things like loading up at the marina or fueling the boat.

After doing anything that requires touching an item someone else may have touched, like a marina gate lock or a fuel pump, disinfect by washing your hands or using a hand sanitizer as soon as possible.

Keeping your boat disinfected is critical. Like many solid surfaces, the parts of your boat could temporarily house the COVID-19 virus. As long as you keep boating between you and your family, your boat in and of itself shouldn’t be any problem. But what if you want to be extra cautious and disinfect your boat?

In that case, go by the CDC Recommendations. That means disinfecting surfaces with EPA- approved disinfectants, however, you should remember that some of the approved disinfectants (like bleach or acids) can harm some of the surfaces of a boat. The canvass and vinyls are particularly subject to damage or discoloration, if disinfecting chemicals are left on their surfaces.

So, after disinfecting be sure to give your boat a thorough wash- down. The most important thing overall is simply to maintain a clean boat.

Boaters love getting out on the water, and part of that love comes from bonding with family, and spending quality time with a loved one, or just enjoying the solitude.

Thankfully, in areas like the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, where short-distance travel hasn’t been entirely eliminated we can still do all of these things safely on our boats. Keep up to date on our local regulations and how they may affect your next excursion. Be careful to maintain social distancing practices. And then cast off those lines and feel the wind in your hair—because boating is still the hands-down best way to enjoy lake living on planet Earth.


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