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Recreational Boating Prohibited in Ocean City

Recreational Boating Prohibited in Ocean City

Recreational Boating Prohibited for All of Maryland, Part of Stay-At-Home Order

On March 30, 2020, Governor Hogan amended a previous Executive Order prohibiting large gatherings to a the current Stay-At-Home order for the state of Maryland. Amongst the guidelines the order lays out is what activities people can and should leave their homes to perform, referenced as essential activities. The office of the Governor gave further explanation through interpretive guidance, but some have had trouble deciphering all the information. Maryland Dept of Natural Resources have created a FAQ for those that want to go outside and enjoy their time at home, but the page states recreational boating is prohibited under the current Stay-At-Home order. As boating is such an important part of life here in Ocean City we pulled the questions asked most right now.

Are Ocean City Marinas Affected?

The Dept of Natural Resource details this further, but  commercial boating that deals with essential business would carry on as normal, but of course need proper licensing and follow social distancing of its crew.

What About Boats as Residence?

You may remain in your boat if it your residence.

The below is a great resources for the status of many outdoor activities. Here are the MDNR FAQs for the Stay-At-Home Order:

Frequently Asked Questions about Governor Hogan’s Stay at Home Order

 

Governor Hogan has issued a Stay at Home Order in response to the global COVID-19 public health crisis. While there are certain exceptions for essential functions, the primary intent of the order is for people to stay at home in order to limit the spread of the virus. 

With that in mind, here is some additional guidance in response to questions the department has received. This is current guidance and subject to change throughout the duration of the public health emergency. 

Can I go hunting?

Limited hunting is allowed if you are seeking food for you or your family, but the social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed.

Can I go fishing?

Limited fishing is allowed if you are seeking food for you or your family, but the social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed.

Can I go boating?

Recreational boating is prohibited until the governor lifts the executive order or until the State of Emergency has ended. However, if an individual is boating to seek food for them or their family, boating is permitted. Boats used to transport essential employees or goods as defined in the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce are also permitted. 

Does kayaking or paddle boarding count as recreational boating?

Since kayaking and paddle boarding are a form of exercise, they are permitted under the executive order. Guidance on social distancing and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed.  

I live on my sailboat – can I still be in my boat slip or moored out?

If your boat serves as your residence, you can remain on the vessel.

Can I go to a state park?

Hiking, biking, and walking are allowed under the executive order but social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed. Most state parks are open but some have been closed or have restricted areas. Please choose a park nearest your home to limit travel and be sure to check our website before you leave for the park and read our guidelines for social distancing in state parks. Natural Resources Police and Maryland Park Service rangers are authorized to enforce the governor’s executive order and will close areas and disperse crowds as necessary.

Can you fish in a state park?

Limited fishing is allowed if you are seeking food for you or your family, but the social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed.

Can you fish/crab from a boat if it is for sustenance? 

Limited recreational fishing and crabbing is allowed if you are seeking food for you or your family, but social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed. 

Can charter boats work next month since they technically fall under the recreational quota from a fisheries standpoint? 

As part of the food supply chain, charter boats can continue operating but must abide by social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people. Charter boats and head boats should NOT have more than 10 individuals on the vessel at any time.

Wildlife offices are closed, so hunters cannot get a permit to hunt on managed lands. Are managed lands closed to hunting? 

Limited hunting is allowed if you are seeking food for you or your family, but the social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed. Hiking, biking and walking are also allowed. Please check the department’s website for the most recent information on closures before visiting DNR’s managed lands.

Are marinas an essential business now that boating is not allowed?

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) defines certain marine trades and marine services as essential. Additionally, the interpretive guidance that accompanied Executive Order 20-03-23-01 includes the following language:

  • “Companies engaged in the … distribution, and sale of oil, gas, and propane products” (section 2.g.ii) and “companies that supply parts, or provide maintenance and repair services for transportation assets and infrastructure including… marine vessels” (section 2.m.xii).

Can commercial fishing license holders from out of state come to Maryland to fish from their Maryland docked vessels?

Anyone fishing in Maryland must have the proper licenses and permits. The CDC has issued guidance on domestic travel. According to the CDC, “The CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately. This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply.” 

Can out of state vessels land commercial catch in Maryland? 

Anyone fishing in Maryland must have the proper licenses and permits. The CDC has issued guidance on domestic travel. According to the CDC, “The CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately. This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply.” 

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