NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — Marinas and boatyards have now been reopened by the governors in the tri-state area amid the coronavirus pandemic, and sailors and boat-owners are taking full advantage. But how will social-distancing rules come into play now that this water activity has been reopened?
At Burr’s Marina in New London Monday, the owner, Adam Bergamo, was happy to hear that marinas are considered essential businesses and they will be able to open as usual this summer.
Bergamo says he is getting a lot of calls from tenants who wanted to make sure he would be able to reopen and also from new people wanting to bring their boats to his marina.
“We were kind of in a holding pattern,” said Bergamo. “Do we launch the boats? Do we not launch the boats?”
So how will people be able to social distance once this marina fills up?
He plans to take precautions in getting the boats stored in his parking lot back in the water.
“If two people from a different household are working side-by-side on a boat they should definitely wear masks,” said Bergamo.
Bergamo says when people are on their boats they are at least ten feet apart and there are also other precautions that can be taken like when people are getting gas. Bergamo says he may provide wipes or sanitize the gas nozzle after every fill-up.
“You lay the nozzle on the dock. He picks it up and pumps his fuel,” said Bergamo. “Basically hand sanitizer and maybe wear a mask.”
What may really affect his business is Rhode Island requiring out-of-state boaters to quarantine on board for fourteen days.
“I think it’s gonna cut down on some of the fuel consumption and fuel sales because people aren’t going to go to Block Island,” said Bergamo. “They’re not going to go to Watch Hill if they can’t get off their boats.”
“With no vacations happening, this will be one of the best vacations you can do is to go sailing, go fishing, go boating, whatever,” said Bergamo. “They can go out, they can anchor, they can have lunch, they can fish, they can tube, water ski.”
Colin Hecklinger was painting the bottom of his sailboat at Burr’s Marina when News 8 caught up with him. He’s more than six feet away from his friend and will stay even farther from others.
“Boats are pretty high up right now so like if they’re on the ground you’re twelve, fifteen feet above them so it’s not,” said Hecklinger. “Nothing to worry about.”
Some say it may be difficult to keep that six-foot distance from someone else while walking along these docks.
But Bergamo points out that every twenty or thirty feet they have these finger docks and he’s hoping people will just step aside and let others pass by.