As boating season approaches this year, you’ll want to keep a few extra safe fishing and boating tips in mind. Get on board with boating safely by abiding by local boating guidelines and monitoring boat ramp closures in your area, as well as following best practices for social distancing on the water.
Is it safe to go boating and practice social distancing on the water with your family? The answer is yes, as long as you’re checking state agency COVID-19 updates and applying these tips:
- Pack your fishing and boating gear ahead of time, and avoid stopping at the store on your way to the marina or launch ramp.
- Make sure you have a copy of your boating license or boater education card, if required by your state. You should also have a copy of your boat registration on board in a safe place.
- Avoid taking boating or fishing trips to extremely remote or secluded locations that could present additional challenges in the event of an emergency. These situations can put strain healthcare infrastructures of small, rural communities.
- Bring along hand sanitizer. Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands as soon as possible after touching something that someone else may have touched, like a marina gate lock or door handles. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands as per CDC guidelines.
- Check to be sure that all of the boat safety requirements for your state have been met. For example, do you have enough PFDs for each person on board? Do you have a sound-producing device? Do you have a complete first-aid kit and boat safety kit (including a personal locator beacon or EPIRB, flares, marine radio, flashlight)?
- Part of boating safely during these times also means social distancing from other boaters when fueling your boat and loading at the marina or ramp.
- Be sure to have a few launch ramps or fishing spots in mind as alternate options in your local area. That way, if you arrive at a busy ramp or marina, you can avoid any crowds and head to another spot.
- Don’t raft up with other boats or pull up onto a beach close to other boats.
- Keep your boating trips limited to immediate family members in your own household. As much as we may want to share our love of boating with others, wait to extend those invites until we get past this time of social distancing.
- Avoid sharing suntan lotion, sunscreen, or other personal care products. Be prepared for your day on the water by bringing along your own.
- Follow manufacturer instructions for washing down your boat and cleaning your fishing gear after each trip.
- Allow plenty of space between boats, vehicles, and other boaters when leaving the ramp.
- Pack out what you packed in. In other words, dispose of all litter in proper trash receptacles at the ramp or marina.
Follow these safe fishing and boating tips, not only to protect yourself and your family during this time, but also to help protect your fellow anglers and boaters. Together we can all contribute to safer boating and fishing practices this summer. For more information, be sure to visit Discover Boating’s Boating During COVID-19 Safety Guide for additional information for staying safe onboard.