It’s time for Maryland to reopen its waters to recreational boating | READER COMMENTARY
For The Baltimore Sun|
May 05, 2020 at 3:59 PM
In response to the letter from Henry Farkas (“Now is not the moment to reopen recreational boating in Maryland,” April 23), I would like to point out that marina fuel docks are already open for the need of local crabbers and fishermen. Boating supplies are readily available at boating supply stores, but the hours are slightly limited — only open 8 hours per day and accepting only credit or debit cards.
As for “boating accidents” on the Chesapeake Bay, they are very rare. Boating problems on the water are usually not dangerous but inconvenient. Boat US offers a membership that includes an option for towing services from TowBoat US. Rarely do recreational boaters call upon the Maryland Natural Resources Police (not the U.S. Coast Guard) for assistance. The Natural Resources Police are called when there is a life or death situation and not to remove a crab pot from the prop.
As of right now, marinas are not required to be closed. At our marina, Hammock Island on Bodkin Creek, we encourage our slip holders to check on the condition of their boat from time to time. We have no gate so we cannot lock down our facilities. We live on the premises so we are “open” but we are not conducting business and our office is essentially closed.
As far as congregating during this time of quarantine, it’s far better for boaters to get out on the water rather than hang out on board or nearby to chat with others. The boats we have here are not “yachts” and cannot accommodate many people (comfortably maybe four or maybe a family of slightly more). These are not “party boats” but rather a means of enjoying the Chesapeake Bay and its many gunkholes and maybe anchoring overnight.
I hope that with the next state assessment of appropriate coronavirus behavior there will be an assumption that Maryland boaters will be just as conscious of appropriate protection of themselves and others as when going to the grocery store or the local park.