Boating Safety in the face of COVID-19

–  Nicki Polan, Executive Director, Michigan Boating Industries Association

Spring is here and thankfully boats are being launched and delivered and boating is underway. There has been a strong uptick in activity on our national Discover Boating website as more people come to realize that boating offers the perfect safe and fun recreational activity which fits right into the social distancing recommendations upon us today.

My last article focused on boating safety as our season was ready to get underway. All previous points still apply however, our boating safety message has expanded in the face of COVID-19. Currently the pandemic is in stage three of six and as such a gradual relaxation of activity is underway. Boating has been allowed as a privilege, which can be taken away if the infections start to rise again, and it is known that we are not boating according to the rules. So please stay vigilant for your own safety and for the safety of others. Here are the rules: It is recommended to help stop the spread of COVID-19 that we boat only with those in our immediate household, but if we do boat with those from outside our households we should practice social distancing. It is also imperative that we do not raft up with other boats or hang out at sandbars in large groups. When getting fuel, use gloves and masks and avoid common touch points. Don’t socialize on the dock. Get on your boat and go find a secluded place to enjoy the beauty of Michigan’s waters and make memories to last a lifetime.

Original Safety Tips:

1.      Take a Boating Safety Class. Education is the key to safety.

2.      Educate your family that the best fuel for your boat contains no Ethanol (E0) Rec. Fuel

3.      Don’t let friends without the proper education operate your family’s boat or personal watercraft, not only is it dangerous, but also puts your family at risk

4.      Watch your wake and share the lake to avoid upsetting other lake users and neighbors. The general rules are to keep your music down, avoid repeated passes, and stay 100 feet from other boaters, docks, shoreline and everything else.

5.      Avoid distractions. When operating a boat, stay focused on the water to assure you see all swimmers, persons in tow, and other boaters.

Happy & Safe Boating!