Ban on Boating

The absurdity of a recreational boating ban while social distancing.

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Matt Mangano.

Boats are staying tied up to their moorings this spring. Governor Hogan’s stay at home order banned recreational boating and frustrated boaters across the state. “The amount of times I have had to pass up a boat ride when the river was glass is disgusting,” junior Holden Tatem said.

Matt Mangano , Features Editor

When Governor Larry Hogan issued the stay at home order on March 30, it at first left many Marylanders with questions surrounding what would be deemed an essential activity or a justified reason to leave their homes. As the order did not explicitly restrict boating, there was a glimmer of hope that Marylanders could continue to boat during the coronavirus pandemic. These dreams were quickly squashed when the Department of Natural Resources released an official interpretation of the order and stated that all recreational boating is “prohibited until the governor lifts the executive order or until the State of Emergency has ended.”

Maryland is one of the few, if not the only state t ban recreational boating because of the coronavirus pandemic. This contributes to the frustration of Maryland boaters such as myself who feel as though a beneficial activity has been foolishly taken away by the government. “Boating is perfect social distancing,” senior KC Galloway said. “The ban really does not make any sense to me; it is a perfectly safe activity.”

Do you think Governor Hogan should allow recreational boating during social distancing protocols?

  • Maybe, With Limits (60%, 6 Votes)
  • Yes (40%, 4 Votes)
  • No (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 10

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The river is seen as a place of refuge for many. Going on a boat can reduce stress and be very beneficial to one’s mental health, especially when they are all cooped up in their homes all day. According to discoverboating.com, boats provide “a way to find true solitude.” It is difficult to not be at peace when on the water. During unsteady times such as these, the water is by far one of the most reassuring places to be and would greatly improve the demeanor of Marylanders everywhere. “The water is where I go to relax, and now I don’t have that option,” junior Holden Tatem said. This ban seems to be doing more harm than good especially because of the ridiculous notion that boating violates social distancing guidelines.

Petitions have been made to have Hogan amend the order and allow for safe boating practices to be legal during this time of crisis. One on change.org has even accumulated over 16 thousand signatures calling for adapted regulations on recreational boating that still follow social distancing guidelines.

Boating is perfect social distancing…The ban really does not make any sense to me; it is a perfectly safe activity. ”

— KC Galloway

Numerous guidelines have been illustrated by organizations such as Sea Tow on safe boating habits while social distancing. Maryland can easily look to other states and these regulations in place for the blueprints during these tough times. Protocols include staying 50 feet away from other vessels, no raft ups, no beaching next to other boats, and keeping guests who you are not quarantining off your boat. These guidelines would allow for a much more enjoyable time during quarantine and even give us a taste of the normal Maryland summer that we all long for.

Hopefully in the coming days or weeks, Governor Hogan will provide an update to antsy Maryland boaters and look to other states for the base of a safe and healthy use of boats recreationally. If not, I think we may all go insane.