CHELSEA – With Memorial Day fast approaching, Chelsea Harbormaster Robert Griffin provided guidance for boaters during the duration of Governor Baker’s stay-at-home advisory and essential services order.
Safe operation of recreational boats is permitted under the following guidelines: Only persons from the same household should be together on a boat at one time. No gatherings or groups of persons from multiple households will be permitted on boat ramps, docks, piers, etc., and all users shall practice strict social distancing. Recreational craft shall remain a safe distance apart. Tying or rafting boats or other craft together is prohibited. All recreational boating is subject to the discretion of local officials, harbormasters and law enforcement.
Maritime transportation workers, including dredges, port workers, mariners, ship crew-members, ship pilots and tugboat operators, equipment operators (including maintenance and repair, and marine specific medical providers), ship supply, chandler, and repair companies have all been deemed essential services under the governor’s order. This includes marine suppliers such as West Marine, BoatUS, and others.
Commercial fishing is an essential part of the food supply chain and will continue to be allowed. Workers should follow public health guidance to minimize interactions with each other and the public.
For hire boating will not be permitted while the Governor’s stay-at-home advisory is in effect. This includes: charter and head boat fishing; sailboat rentals and lessons; canoe, kayak, and stand-up paddle-board rentals; white water rafting and river tubing rentals; whale watches and other pleasure cruises; and, any other operation or use of a vessel that is not registered to the passenger.
Most boat ramps are open for use by recreational boats being launched by vehicles registered in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Ramps remain open for all commercial, state and municipal government users. There are a few exceptions in places where access has already been closed due to parking or other restrictions. Ramps managed by municipalities are subject to the discretion of the city or town.
Boat ramp users should continue to practice social distancing. Users should be prepared to depart quickly from the ramp or dock as soon as their boat is in the water. Upon returning to the ramp, they should unload as quickly as safely possible and clear the launch area. Masks or face coverings should be worn in public in accordance with Department of Public Health’s advisory when social distancing is not possible. Use of ramps for organized fishing tournaments, derbies, or any type of gathering is prohibited.
Harbormaster Robert Griffin and the Chelsea Police Marine Unit encourage everyone to act responsibly to ensure a safe and healthy boating season. Residents with marine related questions may contact the Marine Unit at any time through the Chelsea Police Department at 617-466-4855.