Thursday, June 4, 2020

Changes to boating, yachting outlined amid COVID-19

By Chester Robards

The boating and yachting component of tourism, which will be part of the June 15 phased reopening of the tourism sector, will implement significant changes to procedures in order to keep that sector safe amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In order to incentivize boaters’ return to The Bahamas, the Association of Bahamas Marinas (ABM) has suggested to the government a short holiday on cruising permit fees.

The comprehensive strategy for reopening the country’s marina and boating sector is published in the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Committee’s plan, which was revealed Tuesday during a press conference held by the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation. It calls for a number of new restrictions that will be implemented to keep visitors and locals safe from COVID-19 transmission.

The ABM stated it has already received “deep interest and reassurance from the boating community, expressing its readiness to resume activities upon the relaxation of COVID-19-related restrictions”.

That community, which comes largely from Florida, will meet and place new rules on docking, refueling, ordering food and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

The plan requires that masks and gloves be worn by crew and guests when off the vessel; that boats remain 50 feet apart; it prohibits tying boats together (rafting); requires fuel attendants to wear masks, gloves, hats and glasses and prohibits them from boarding a vessel to fuel it; requires vessels to give marinas 48 hours notice of their arrival; and requires boaters to complete the Maritime Declaration of Health, a document containing data related to the state of health on board a ship during passage and on arrival at port; among other changes.  Read more >>