JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Marine Association, (JMA,) urges boaters to maintain their distance while on the water, in hopes that area boat ramps will remain open and boating a safe option during the threat of Coronavirus. Several communities around the state of Florida have closed boat ramps because boaters were not following social distancing protocols, by tying up several boats together to socialize or crowding sandbars.
In Mayor Curry’s Executive Order, it states is section hh., “Private and municipal marinas and boat launches, docking, fueling, marine supply and other marina services, and other private outdoor recreational activities that comply with the spacing, maximum capacity and other requirements of federal, state and local executive orders and proclamations;”
In Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order, which supersedes any local order, it does not list the Marine Industry specifically, however it states on page 6, “This list is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered, a federal directive or standard. Additionally, this advisory list is not intended to be the exclusive list of critical infrastructure sectors, workers, and functions that should continue during the COVID-19 response across all jurisdictions. Individual jurisdictions should add or subtract essential workforce categories based on their own requirements and discretion.”
The JMA made this facebook post, reminding people how to boat safely during the threat of coronavirus:
In a recent blog post from JMA, Administrative Director Erin Johnson details, "When it comes to the activity of boating and/or fishing, after discussions with local officials it is our understanding that as BOTH Executive Orders read, they qualify recreational boating as an allowable activity in light of its ability to be easily conducted while using strict social distancing guidelines.
Social distancing and other guidelines MUST be followed. For example: Congregating at boat ramps, rafting off with other vessels and more than 10 persons per boat must be avoided. It is important to maintain social distancing habits within dealerships and repair facilities.
Unlike other parts of our state, boat ramps and marine interests have not been specifically ordered to close in Jacksonville and surrounding counties. This is subject to change at any time."