May 13, 2021
Let’s make it very clear – everyone is feeling the pain of the never-endemic but the authorities – health officers and legislators – should really take another look at boating. While the rules vary from BC to the Maritimes, basically no-one is allowed to do much with their boats.
If you follow the rules in Ontario right now, you cannot even go see your boat on land, let alone launch it unless there’s an ‘essential’ reason. While big cruisers are obviously only available to some of the population, the same could be said of cottages and chalets; those vacation facilities are full of people. Cottage rentals are booked solid for months. But propose taking your boat for a trip to a remote island and you’re breaking the law.
While it’s true that golfers, skateboarders and basketballers are under the same scrutiny, it’s very difficult to understand how a family preparing their boat for launch, heading out for a day on the water or taking a vacation onboard are putting themselves or anyone else at risk. Sitting in the cockpit anchored off a far shore seems pretty safe to me.
We have heard the explanation, particularly as it applies to golf, that it isn’t the activity itself that’s the worry – it’s the socializing before and after. So lock down the pre or post boat activities, limit who can be onboard to household groupings, wear masks, keep your distance and wash your hands frequently etc. People get that.
I am not suggesting that any of us should break the rules; boaters are universally a peaceful lot. And even if I don’t agree with the details, I will follow guidelines to the letter. I am simply suggesting that the rules might need a re-examination. An activity that gets Canadians out in the fresh air, away from crowds seems like a very reasonable idea.