Recreational boaters asked to avoid non-essential travel over long weekend

Recreational boaters and operators of non-motorized watercraft are asked to avoid non-essential travel over the May long weekend due to COVID-19 | Photo: Getty Images

The Canadian Coast Guard British Columbia’s recreational boaters to avoid unnecessary travel over the May long weekend.

Those boaters – if they choose to go on the water this weekend or this spring – should also follow public health guidelines and “proceed with common sense and good judgement.”

That messaging is part of a joint statement issued Thursday by the federal government, Emergency Management BC, the RCMP, United States Coast Guard and Destination BC.

Those agencies, along with the Canadian Armed Forces, Indigenous Services Canada, Parks Canada and other federal partners, are working together to ensure all mariners on the water stay safe, and that they are observing B.C. and Canada’s COVID-19 protocols, according to the statement. 

People who operate non-motorized watercraft are also asked to avoid non-essential travel during the long weekend.

This is also not the time for recreational boaters to visit B.C.’s small coastal communities, the agencies said in the joint statement. Many communities, particularly First Nations communities, are closed to visitors to protect themselves from the virus.

If boaters must travel, however, they should be prepared to be self-sufficient as they may not have access to fuel, supplies or other services during their trip.

Boaters should also not get on a boat if they have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or are feeling sick. In the case of a marine emergency, boaters should let emergency responders know if they have any flu-like symptoms when they call for assistance.

The Canada-US border restrictions on non-essential travel remain in place until May 21. Boaters who travel across the border for non-essential purposes, including recreation and tourism, will be turned around, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, mariners who cross the border into Canada for essential purposes must quarantine themselves for 14 days.

Richmond News