Hennepin County Sheriff Offers Tips for Boating Safely During Pandemic
Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson offers guidelines for maintaining social distancing while enjoying area lakes on a boat. They include only boating with people in your immediate household and staying away from beaches, other boats and other people.
“We want you to come out here and have fun,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson. “We all want to get out of the house. Make sure you do it safely. Social distance. Make sure you clean your boat. Practice all the things we’re doing at the grocery stores, etc.”
The Sheriff’s Office says only allow people in the same boat that live in your same house.
“We’re really trying to push for specific family members to be on the boat,” said Lt. Shane Magnuson, from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office. “Whether it’s your family, or whether you co-habitate and live together under the same roof. Then you should be on the same boat.”
Practice Social Distancing with Your Boat Too
The Sheriff’s Office says there’s a proper way to practice social distancing with your boat. For one, don’t tie your boat up to another one or pull up to the same beach.
“Exchanging of ropes, or grabbing of somebody else’s boat, could result in a transfer of COVID,” said Magnuson. “We’re just saying anchor a little bit farther apart, but please come out, enjoy the lakes.”
According to Magnuson, simple preparation is the key to having fun on the water and getting home safely.
“Plan your trip from the time you leave your house to the time you get to the lake,” Magnuson said. “Don’t make unnecessary stops. If you have to stop for something, make sure it’s essential and you’re washing your hands, wearing a mask. Anything to keep yourself safe. When you launch the boat just stay away from other people at the boat ramp. Same thing on the docks, let one boat clear, then go out and get on the dock and go to or from your destination that way.”
The Sheriff’s Office also wants boaters to make sure they have life jackets, flares, navigation lights, a horn or whistle and a first-aid kit.
“We will not be putting the flotation boxes together at this point in time,” Magnuson said. “There’s not really a plan for decontaminating those life jackets. When you come to a lake make sure you are checking your boat prior to launching and making sure you have life jackets for everyone. Children under 10 are required to wear life jackets.”
Other basic tips include not using a beach, boat ramp or marina that is closed and cleaning your water craft to prevent aquatic invasive species from hitchhiking on your boat.
Read the full press release here.