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Social Distancing on the Water





We are well into boating season now and as expected, the traffic on our local waterways has picked up quite a bit. But if your experience is like mine, you may have noticed that boat traffic is even more than it was at this time last year. We can thank COVID-19 for that. In this age of social distancing, people are realizing that spending time on the water is one of the best ways to have your fun and remain safe. It is pretty easy for a family to be out on the water, whether on a boat or a few PWC’s, and keep their distance from other individuals. Statistics have shown that boating has long been one of the best activities for families to participate in. It seems that more and more people are starting to realize that again. Flying across the water on a PWC, a bow rider or raising the sails and gliding across a body of water is not a bad way to spend your time during a pandemic. It sure beats staying indoors.

On Lake Lanier, where I do most of my boating traffic is up by 20 to 30 percent over the same time last year. Sales of boats and PWC’s have gone through the roof and boats that used to sit idle at the dock waiting for their owners to show up are now being used. I am considering the purchase of a PWC so a few weeks ago, I stopped at a dealership near me to see what they have in stock. Initially, I thought they might have been closed because I did not see any machines in the showroom. After speaking with a sales person, he assured me that they were still in business but they were sold out. According to him, three weeks prior, they had over 80 machines in stock and they had sold them all. In addition, they were having trouble finding more. Conversations with other dealers shown similar situations.

Boating traffic in many areas has increased significantly over last year.


So why boating during a pandemic?

After several weeks of social distancing at home, people are ready to get out of the house, especially with the weather (and the water) getting warmer. Boating allows families to get outside without having to be in crowds or gather with individuals that they are not familiar with.


Summer weather has been shown to kill COVID-19. Don’t assume that this is a cure or a reason to not social distance but science has shown that sunlight, heat and humidity are all bad for the virus. That’s good for us if we like being outdoors. I wonder if I can use that as an excuse to take a sick day and go boating.

One of the biggest affects of COVID, other than the obvious, is the mental toll that is has taken on all of us. Many of us feel that our lives have changed dramatically or even come to a halt. We feel locked up in our homes and cabin fever is setting in. Getting out on the boat may just help you feel more normal again while still allowing yourself to be safe.

Getting out on the water allows you to safely do something that makes life seem normal again.


Is there a downside?

Well, if you do not currently own a boat or PWC, you may have trouble finding one. If you do manage to find one, the high demand may mean that negotiating the price you want may be a bit more challenging.

Whatever you do, get outside and enjoy the warm weather. It will be good for you.

Happy Boating

Capt. Frank

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