The expansive system of bays and waterways of Long Island serve not only a beautiful respite for residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also serve as a way of life and source of income for business owners and boaters, especially as the height of the season gets under way.
As part of the Governor’s “New York State on Pause” COVID-19 safety orders, the state had temporarily shut down marinas. But a new Executive Order issued this weekend provides local governments with the ability to re-open them. Today, at the Curtis E. Fisher West Marina in Point Lookout, Supervisor Don Clavin, joined by Councilman Anthony D’Esposito and Councilman Chris Carini, announced the reopening of the town’s marinas, and unveiled a set of safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. The rules include important information about social distancing at the marinas.
“Opening our marinas is an important opportunity not only to provide recreational opportunities for our residents, but to inject some energy into the economy that is based here on our bays and waterways during the height of boating season,” Clavin said. “However, in order to keep our marinas open and most importantly protect the health of residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must enact and enforce a series of safety measures.”
Signage with updated safety information and rules will be on display at all Hempstead Town marinas. In addition, Hempstead Town will also be distributing safety brochures for those who utilize the marinas and publish the information on the town website.
“Marinas are vital to the Town of Hempstead, especially for our communities along the water,” D’Esposito said. “Please follow these important safety guidelines to ensure the safety of others and that we can keep our marinas open.”
“We wish boaters a safe and healthy season during the COVID-19 pandemic, and ask that everyone follows the town’s safety rules,” Carini added.
The new safety protocols at Hempstead Town marinas include:
- Try to stay inland.
- Keep in mind that a lot of rescue services are low on numbers.
- Stay close to home in case an emergency arises.
- When using our boat ramps, wait in your vehicle until the person using the ramp has completed using it before you do.
- When fueling, wait for vessel to finish before entering the fuel dock.
- Stay clear of tie ups or mooring congregations.
- Boat operators also must continue to follow vessel distancing.
- Keep a safe distance of at least 50 feet from other vessels.
- Understand occupancy requirements along with social distancing.
- If possible, limit the people aboard to family members you live with and housemates. Keep 6 feet away at all times.
- It’s a good time to check required safety equipment. Make sure everything is to USCG regulation and is not expired.
- Take an NYS Boaters Safety Course online. Brianna’s Law went into effect January 1, 2020. This is a phase-in-regulation which will require all operators to complete the course and receive a certificate in order to operate a vessel.
- The waterways are still cold. Make sure to wear life jackets at all times.
The marina is open for personal use as long as strict social distancing and sanitization protocols are followed:
- Completely clean and sanitize your boat and touch points before boarding guests, during use, and after each use.
- Clean your hands often and keep them away from your face.
- Follow all traditional safe boating and US Coast Guard Rules and Harbormaster guidance.
- Wear masks or face coverings.
- Maintain social distance.
Residents are advised to report violations of these boater and marina safety guidelines or any other safety concerns to the Town of Hempstead Bay Constables at (516) 801-5608 or (516) 801-5609.
“We understand that our boating, kayaking and canoeing community is becoming more active with the beautiful weather. It’s a way to get out and enjoy the fresh air,” Clavin concluded, “but there are safe ways in doing so.”