Boating with People During Coronavirus Pandemic

6 Steps for a Safer Boating Trip During COVID-19

With Summer finally here, outdoor activities are becoming more desirable as a means to escape the confines of quarantine while still being mindful of personal safety. Taking a trip out on a boat is a terrific way to enjoy the warmer weather and remain socially distant. Here are a few things to keep in mind to lower your exposure risks while getting out on the water. 

1) Decide who you are bringing with you on the boat, as some choices may increase your risk more than others. 

Limiting your trip to include only the people you live with, instead of people you do not interact with regularly, helps protect everyone by limiting the number of households which might be exposed.  If you choose to include guests you do not live with, be sure to assess the risks; four members of one household may be less risky than four individuals from multiple households.  Similarly, someone who works outside their home would likely have more exposure risk than someone who has been able to stay home during this time.

2) Limit the number of guests you plan to bring, even if the boat’s capacity is greater. 

As stated by the CDC, social distancing remains one the most successful methods for combating the spread many aerosol-based infections.

Boating Social Distancing

Courtesy of Sea Tow

3) Recommend guests bring their own supplies.

Germs are often able to survive for long periods of time on surfaces and, therefore, are susceptible to spread from person to person through frequently touched places. Having guests who do not live together bring their own supplies, food, and drinks will help to limit the number of times these cross-contaminations can occur.

4) Be aware of possible points of contamination at the boat ramp.

With a large number of people passing through the same place, boat ramps have many high touch points. Because they are so frequently touched, these points have a greater risk of being contaminated. These contaminated items are called fomites. These can include handrails and parking meters at the boat ramp. The largest number of fomites are often found in public restrooms. Keep this in mind when preparing to launch your boat. The best way to combat contamination from fomites is to follow good handwashing protocols.

5) Recognize the risks that arise from participating in popular activities on the water, such as: visiting popular beaches, eating at dock-and-dine restaurants, and “rafting up” with other boats.

While being outdoors helps to reduce your risk of infection, it does not negate it entirely. Taking part in activities, like those listed above, can increase the risk by bringing you into closer contact with people who may be infected.

6) Exercise caution if alcohol is going to be consumed.

Alcohol can cause you to relax your awareness for following these safety measures. Talk with everyone at the start of the trip so you can help each other remember how to stay safe, even after having a few drinks.

Creating a plan to help protect you and your guests is one of the best ways to ensure the safety of everyone. It is dangerous to equate being outdoors with complete safety. Being aware of the risks and making sure you have a plan are the best ways to ensure everyone is safe and can enjoy their escape on the water.

Personal Bag of Boating Supplies


CDC Social Distancing 

Dangers of Public Restrooms 

CDC Hand Washing

Risks of Seeing People from Outside Your Household 

Traveling Concerns 

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