(WTNH) — Governor Ned Lamont, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced today that marinas, boatyards and marine manufacturers in the tri-state area will be allowed to open for personal use.
The sites may only remain open as long as strict social distancing and sanitization protocols are followed.
Rentals and chartered watercraft services will not be allowed to open. Restaurants at these sites must be limited to takeout or delivery only.
Lamont explained that the new announcement is an affirmation of the state’s current policy. Marinas and marina repair are still on the essential business list.
Our states share workforces, resources, public transit, and we all have share a connection on the water. This is yet another example of how our states have shared interests, which is all the more reason to collaborate on these kinds of decisions. This decision provides uniformity across our marinas.Governor Ned Lamont
Throughout this pandemic, we’ve worked closely with our friends in neighboring states to implement a uniform regional approach to reducing the spread of the virus. Aligning our polices in this area is another example of that strong partnership, and will help ensure there is no confusion or ‘state shopping’ when it comes to marinas and boatyards.Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York
We’ve committed to working with our regional partners throughout this crisis to align our policies when and where appropriate. A unified approach is the most effective way to alleviate confusion for the residents of our states during the ongoing public health emergency.Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection manages 117 boat launches in the state where there is no fee. DEEP said they plan to continue to monitor the use of these launches and may adjust public access to them if necessary for the safety of the public and DEEP employees.
“Boating or paddling can provide a refreshing outdoor escape during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Peter Francis, DEEP Boating Division Director. “We know our boating community is passionate about getting on the water and we want to ensure they can recreate safely.”
After the governors’ announcement, DEEP issued a list of guidelines to ensure residents adhere to prior executive orders at the open sites.
To use DEEP boat launches safely:
- Parking in state boat launches is only for boating, fishing, or wildlife observation (where permitted). Other non-permitted activities could increase use, reduce safety, and jeopardize the availability of the facilities. Anyone not engaged in these activities should not be using boat launches and will be asked to leave by DEEP Environmental Conservation Police.
- Gatherings of people at state boat launches must be limited to not more than 5 people per Governor Lamont’s Executive Order number 7N.
- Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on maintaining 6-foot social distancing from others must be followed at all times. When possible, leave an empty parking space between your vehicle and others in the lot.
- Boaters should depart the ramp area as quickly as possible when launching or retrieving your boat.
- Boat occupants should be limited to cohabitating family members only, and groups of no more than five.
- Recreate locally. Rather than traveling to some of Connecticut’s more popular boat launches, discover new boating spots close to home. Consult the DEEP Boating website for alternate launching locations.
- If a boat launch appears to be crowded, consider visiting a different boat launch, or returning at a different time or day.
To use DEEP waterways safely:
- Do not raft or tie-up your vessel with other vessels.
- Do not share your equipment or vessel with other boaters.
- Wear gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) and practice proper social distancing when using public equipment such as gas pumps or pumpout facilities.
- Coastal and inland water temperatures remain cold and boaters should wear life jackets at all times. A reminder that state law requires anyone operating or riding in a manually-propelled vessel such as a canoe or kayak is required to wear a life jacket until May 31st.
For out-of-state boater’s on Connecticut waters:
- Per Governor Lamont’s guidance, any person coming to Connecticut by means of transportation, including by boat, are strongly urged to self-quarantine for 14 days.
- Out of state boaters are reminded that prior to operating on Connecticut’s inland waters, an Aquatic Invasive Species stamp is required to be purchased online. The demarcation line between inland and coastal waters can be found on the DEEP Boating website.
DEEP said they are working on operational plan for the state’s most popular boat launches, including Squantz Cove and Gardner Lake. Some of those plans may include reduced parking and other measures to keep Connecticut boaters safe.