These days, cruising comes with its challenges. I’ve talked with longtime boaters who say they’ve experienced some discouraging moments since the coronavirus created a new normal on and offshore. Some say boating in a pandemic is a bit more stressful than they imagined it would be. Cruisers who typically spend summers visiting a variety of new ports are changing up their plans as they are unsure if some regions will have restrictions on visitors. Provisions and fuel can be more difficult to find, and social distancing rules on docks have robbed some boat owners of the joy they experience simply talking and eating with friends.
And yet even with the logistical hurdles and ethical dilemmas, most people who love boats and boating still believe the water is the ultimate escape.
John Jinishian shares that sentiment in the story “An Ocean for Isolation” (page 56). When he signs on for a delivery trip up the East Coast in early April, he has real concerns about cruising, but because he needs to make money, he gets aboard a Pershing 5X for a 1,200-nautical-mile run, an experience that turns out to be therapeutic, even if the process was more complicated than usual.
The pandemic has created more than a few knotty situations for boat owners. In Dispatches (page 19), Kim Kavin reports on how the ripple effects of the virus could affect your hurricane insurance policy this summer. And in Focus (page 35), you’ll learn the lengths to which marina operators have gone to establish new best practices for everyone’s safety. Yes, you may have to wear a face mask until you leave the slip, and you may get your wrist slapped if you help your neighbor with his lines, but in the long run, these changes in nautical protocol could make it possible for everyone to more fully enjoy the waterways this summer.
Some places are making special efforts to ensure the cruising experience remains satisfying, even with the inconveniences. This morning, my inbox contained a note from Lyman-Morse of Maine, announcing that its marina in Camden had opened for business. Granted, those who plan to arrive by boat will need to honor the governor’s current Executive Order of a 14-day quarantine. However, to ease those quarantine requirements, Lyman-Morse is offering to do things like deliver groceries and takeout to boats on docks or moorings, to pick up trash and recyclables, and to be available for service issues. The company even launched a 50-knot RIB for these purposes.
So, yes, cruising has its challenges today. But there’s also a tremendous willingness among boat owners and the businesses that support them to make time on the water as good as it can get.