You stay six feet apart in the grocery line and you can't even remember the last time you coughed without covering. But are you confident you can keep your passengers and boat safe when enjoying a day on the water?
These seven tips will help you adapt your already good habits for a worry less, live more getaway:
1. Boat only with members of your current household. If others will join you, mask etiquette applies (including during the car ride to the marina).
2. Wear a scarf or bandana. If you get a faceful of water, use it – rather than your hands – to wipe off. Another option, use the elbow of your sleeve (just like when you cough or sneeze).
3. Stay six feet apart on the dock. As you're readying your boat to launch, maintain your distance from fellow boaters. And when fueling up at the marina, use disposable gloves to handle the pump nozzle and wash your hands or sanitize with alcohol-based cleaner.
4. Wipe down surfaces – with a caveat. Boats are brimming with frequently touched surfaces that need a disinfecting wipe-down: rails, helm controls, hatch latches, galley surfaces, shared fishing gear, coolers and seating to name a few. Choose EPA-approved cleaners that won't attack wood, canvas and vinyl (both alcohol and bleach, for example, can be damaging). Even when using "safe" cleaners, consider rinsing and drying surfaces after the cleaning solution has been in contact long enough to be effective.
5. Bring provisions from home. That will eliminate stops at small-town grocery stores, which could be crowded with fellow visitors.
6. Make sure marinas are open and research nearby alternatives. If the launch is overcrowded when you arrive, find another place to launch.
7. Play it safe. If the weather looks iffy or your motor doesn't sound quite right, save your outing for another day. Getting stranded and needing rescue is dangerous and unpredictable anytime – and even more so in the middle of a pandemic.
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