This past Monday, Gov. Baker announced the four-phased reopening of Massachusetts starting on May 25th. Within a few minutes of his announcement, my email Inbox and phone voicemail were lighting up with messages of hope and “WHEN CAN WE GO SAILING?” It felt great! – and yes, we do have reason to hope that we can soon be sailing again.
We all know, however, that sailing will be very different for us this year. The State’s regulations and guidance for opening boating facilities are highly detailed and prescriptive. We face significant challenges in “getting this right” – making sure that not only are we in full compliance with State rules but also that we are fully satisfied that we are protecting the health and safety of our staff and our members in this time of Covid-19 concerns. Our staff are working diligently to put in place detailed protocols of operation and fleet / facility sanitation so that we may responsibly offer programming in step with the State’s gradual re-opening.
Although we still hope to offer a 2020 Junior Program adapted to new conditions of operation, we cannot make this commitment until we know the State’s regulations for children’s summer programming. The State’s guidance on coordinating summer camps should be coming out in Phase 2, probably in June. That critical guidance will inform our final decision on what we can do this year.
Universal Access Program
It doesn’t appear that opening the Universal Access Program will be possible in the first phase. Phase 1 Recreational Boating Guidelines require that, “Where social distancing is not possible, only persons from the same household should be together on any boat at one time.” Due to the structure of the UAP program where an instructor accompanies a member, we will be unable to operate under this restriction during this phase. We are exploring what will be possible in later phases.
To begin with, sailing will be by appointment only, in our keel Mercuries. We must observe a limit of one sailor per boat – the only exceptions be allowed when there are two sailors living in the same household. The boathouse may not even be open at all, at least at first. You’ll probably access the dock from the side gate. We will be communicating in much greater detail what our operating plan and procedures will be in the next few weeks. And hopefully we will be able to start sailing in June.
Needless to say, we will have to share a boatload of patience, understanding, and cooperation to make this work. It will be important for all of us to keep our “eye on the prize”, which is not the most restrictive sailing opportunities of Phase 1, but getting through Phases 2 and 3 and finally 4.
We are pulling out all the stops to get this program up and running. We can’t wait to see your smiling masked faces again. It will be better when the masks are finally gone, though. When we can look Covid 19 in the rear view mirror, just imagine…… the sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, sunsets, capsizes, dock parties, regattas, Tiller Club, Women’s Sailing, Friday Night Racing, Co-abled Racing, Blind Sailing, Universal Access, and just sitting at picnic tables with each other, watching the glittering reflections of a sunset dance across the river. Everyone, it’s coming. Slowly. But it’s coming.
Stay tuned to all of CBI’s communication channels as we post frequently on Facebook and Twitter and publish Basin Breezes weekly. Fair winds to all – keep safe and healthy.
Below you’ll find information on the guidelines and regulations set by the state:
Massachusetts’s Phased Reopening Plan
Recreational boating and other waterway related activities guidelines
Workplace safety and reopening standards for recreational boating businesses
Specific safety and reopening standards for parks, open space, and outdoor education programs