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Boating and COVID-19 – Social Distancing on the Water

Published August 21st, 2020 by Bernardo

Due to the unfortunate COVID-19 pandemic the past few months, a growing sense of uncertainty has been created about what life may look like and how to adapt to 'the new normal'. Amid ever-changing state orders, social-distancing guidelines, it is clear that there will be lasting impacts to the way we previously carried out our daily lives.

This new reality also applies to how we vacation, relax and blow off steam as summer enters full swing. Thankfully, our natural resources are wide open for the recreational activities that have long been a hallmark of the season, and this year, a growing number of people are turning to a longstanding American pastime — recreational boating.

As first-time boat buyers are on the rise, as Americans are recognizing that boating is one of the safest and most accessible atmospheres to enjoy quality time with their loved ones and improve their mental health outlook during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Owning a boat gives people a unique way to get away from it all. That comes in handy now as we’re all trying to maintain social distancing because of COVID-19. Politicians from every state in the United States have acknowledged that boating is a safe social distancing activity, but there are still some precautions to keep in mind. All of the usual guidelines are still relevant on the water, so here are a few things to consider before you plan your next outing and the boating industry’s way forward.

How to Social Distancing While Boating

In May, the recreational boating industry saw an unprecedented increase in PWC sales, which were up 75 percent compared to May 2019.

Shipments of PWCs, outboard engines, wake sport boats, and jet boats increased by a range of 19 to 160 percent compared to April.

As the boating and water sports industry continues to grow on high-demand, manufacturing activity is slowly starting to pick back up and saw impressive gains in May following two months of shutdowns.

Therefore, if you are planning to go out on the water, one of the most important things to consider is how you’re going to limit exposure to other people around. Inviting a lot of guests onto your boat will put you near others and potentially spread disease, so limit your group to people who already live with you. If you live alone or still want to see others, here’s a more visual depiction on how to practice social distancing while boating.

Thankfully, in areas where short-distance travel hasn’t been entirely eliminated we can still do all aquatic activities from the safely on our boats.  With that being said, we don’t recommend rafting with other boats or going to a beach where you’ll be close to many people. Your boat is one of the best places to get away from it all, and now is the perfect time to take advantage of that. When you limit your stops and other interactions, you’re doing your part to keep everyone safe.

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For example, you may want to pack plenty of gear and supplies at home, so you don’t have to stop on the way to your boat. Sometimes, some degree of contact may be unavoidable.

However in instances such as when you’re fueling the boat or loading it at the marina, you can still do your best to maintain a safe distance and follow other guidelines. You may want to bring some hand sanitizer so you can disinfect yourself after stopping at the marina, fuel station, or loading ramp.

How to Disinfect a Boat

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?

It is a good idea to take extra precautions when cleaning your boat, especially if you ever share it with others. Disinfect the boat with disinfectants that have been approved 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.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to wash the boat down after disinfecting. 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, to keep things ship-shape.

How to Have Fun Boating During COVID-19

Being extra careful doesn’t mean you can’t still have a ton of fun on the water. Boats make it easy to keep your distance from others while still enjoying yourself. There are even a few ways you can use your boat to improve your social life without putting yourself and others at an increased risk of catching the virus. Here are three of our favorite things to do without getting exposed to others.

1 – Go Fishing

  • Fishing is one of our favorite ways to connect with nature while on a boat. Head out to the water with your family or even by yourself to enjoy some quiet time and look for your next big catch.

  • You can also practice kayak fishing, all from the safety of your own kayak. At Nautical Ventures we offer you the largest selection of new and used kayaks under one roof in South Florida. Visit us at our Dania Beach and North Palm Beach Marine Superstores located right on the water for your paddling convenience and for you to even try our products before purchase.

2 – Spend Time With Your Family

  • Relax and unwind by making time for activities on the water. Spending too much time in the house can be overwhelming, but a day on your boat provides a welcomed change of pace. If your boat has a cabin with room to sleep, you may want to plan a safe vacation by spending a night or two aboard.

  • There’s no evidence we’re aware of that COVID-19 can be contracted through the water. Still, please respect any restrictions about waters being closed for swimming and other activities. As long as you can do that, get active by going swimming or participating in water sports.

  • If enjoy boating, kayaking, fishing, and other marine sports, you'll love Nautical Ventures Marine Superstore. Our "Superstore" is part of our name for a reason! We offer from boats, tenders, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, inflatables, submersibles, and toys for many other extreme water sports. Our store is a one-stop shop with everything you need to start or continue your aquatic adventures. You can visit us in one of our locations at Dania Beach and North Palm Beach.


3 – Meet Friends From a Distance

  • If you have friends in the area, plan to meet up with them for a cruise in your boats. You can even set anchor and have a conversation. Just try to keep six feet apart as you would on land, which means it’s best not to raft the boats.

Buy a Boat in South Florida

In conclusion, we 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.

A boater who knows the rules of the water is more confident and ultimately creates a safer, more enjoyable boating experience for everyone. So check on the regulations affecting your locality. 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 living on planet Earth.

In addition, if you don’t have a boat yet, now might be the time to change that. Visit us at any of our 5 Nautical Ventures Marine Center locations at Dania Beach, Fort Lauderdale, North Palm Beach, Tampa Beach or Sarasota. We look forward to welcoming you!

You can also visit our website www.nauticalventures.com for more information.

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