Luckily, options for COVID-19 safe family fun are opening up. There are plenty of outdoor activities you can take part in with your family but most involve possibly running into a stranger here and there. Someone you don’t know and don’t know where they came from.
Many people, however, are now turning to boating for some much-needed family fun and relaxation, with social distancing built-in, if you do it the right way. If this is what you are thinking to do with your own family there are some things you should keep in mind before you actually make any solid plans.
Quick Note: Do everything you can to social distance: Boats should maintain a 50-foot separation on the water and not raft up; wash your hands and/or use sanitizer frequently; and pack all essentials. – lakeexpo.com
First and most importantly, always check with the local authority websites or information centers to find out if getting on the water in that particular jurisdiction is currently permitted. There are still some areas that have remained closed due to the pandemic, so beware. The last thing you want is to plan a trip, get the kids, even the big ones, excited, reach your destination, and be denied access. Now, when you get the good news that your destination is in fact open, you still have work to do. Find out if there are any restrictions, such as curfews, ramp closures, if tow services are available (in case of an emergency), and what that area’s social distancing guidelines are, among other things. Inform yourself before the trip to stay clear of any delays or any avoidable hassles.
One question that I’ve seen raised a lot is whether you should or could boat with friends. For this, I’m going to echo what most local and government agencies will probably answer…”Only boat with those in your family or immediate household.” Found this particular statement on the North Carolina wildlife website, but I see the same thing repeated on most local and government sites as well. This site went on to caution that you should “maintain your distance from others at boat ramps and fuel docks. Avoid using boat ramps and docks while other people are on them.” And they don’t want people to beach their boats next to others or make rafts either, that is, connect your boat to another boat. The universal message seems to be, keep a safe distance whenever and wherever possible.
Another thing to keep in mind of course is your personal safety as pertains to COVID-19. When you reach your destination, you are going to be touching things that someone else has likely recently touched before you. Be sure to wash or sanitize your hands thoroughly as soon as you can. When it comes to keeping your boat clean, in case it was exposed to people you don’t know, or you just want to be extra safe, check out the CDC’s recommendations for efficient cleansers, but as the Discover Boating site states “you should remember that some of the approved disinfectants (like bleach or acids) can harm some of the surfaces of a boat.” So, they suggest you make sure you wash your boat very carefully after using these cleansers.
Quick Note: Make sure [the life jacket] fits the intended user; check the label on the life jacket for weight and size limits. – redcross.org
Last but certainly not least, for those who have not taken their boat out in a while, or are possibly planning their first-ever boat trip, make sure all your safety equipment is working and in compliance. The last thing you want to do is to go out on the water with missing or even expired equipment. Things like having enough of the correct type and properly fitted life jackets for everyone on board is imperative. Also important is to check your flares’ expiration date. The fact is the #1 reason for failing a USCG inspection is expired flares. If you find yourself with some flares that have expired, visit our store and check out our S.O.S. eVDSDs that NEVER expire. Sirius Signal’s electronic LED flares are approved by the Coast Guard to legally replace pyrotechnic flares. And if you are going on this trip with little ones, our e-flares are much safer to handle than ANY pyrotechnic flare.
Have a comment or question? Let us know what you think, or contact us if you want some information on our products. Sirius Signal wishes everyone a safe and healthy summer boating season.