As of May 5th , recreational boating and fishing, with the exception of shellfish, are allowed in Washington State. State Parks and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Public Lands, including marine parks, are open for day-use. While these recreational activities are welcome, this is not a return to pre-Covid-19. Not all parks will be open. Boating activities are intended for local day-use. State guidelines ask that people recreate locally and refrain from overnight stays. There are a number of questions and implementation topics that come with this re-opening.
Recreational Boating and Stay-Home Stay-Healthy Compliance
The Governor’s April 27th proclamation declares that recreational boating is an excepted-deviation from the Stay-Home Stay-Healthy non-essential travel directive, and therefore is allowed. The Governor further stated that travel should be kept within one’s local vicinity, and guidelines ask boaters to recreate locally and refrain from overnight stays. Anchoring overnight, and overnight stays at destination marinas that are accepting guest moorage are not specifically prohibited by the Governor’s proclamation or its guidelines.
Covid-19 Safe Boating Guidelines
The state proclamation and guidelines ask boaters to use Covid-19 safe practices. See Waggoner Guide’s Safe Boating Guidelines for a complete list of Safe Boating recommendations.
State Parks and DNR Public Lands
State Parks and DNR Lands are open for day-use. This includes parks and DNR uplands, beaches, trails and facilities. Not all restrooms will be open. Boaters may use park and DNR docks, mooring buoys, and linear side-tie during the daytime, overnight stays are not allowed. Camping, visitor centers, and any accommodations on State managed lands remain closed. Some parks may remain closed until further notice. Check the State Parks website https://parks.state.wa.us/ for a list of open and closed parks. DNR boat launches and marine facilities will be open for day-use. Launch one at a time to maintain social distancing.
San Juan County Restrictions
San Juan County Council has reaffirmed their restrictions on non-residents visiting the Islands. Their prohibition on overnight accommodations in the County has been extended through May 31st and includes banning marinas from accepting boats seeking transient moorage. Their order seeks to restrict access to State Parks in San Juan County and discourage anchoring in the County. Visiting boaters are asked not to come ashore and not to provision in the Islands.
Day fishing is allowed; check Fish and Wildlife website at www.wdfw.wa.gov for opening dates for shellfish. WDFW has not opened halibut, shrimp, and shellfish and coastal (marine areas 1-4) saltwater fishing of all species is still closed.
The border remains closed to all non-essential traffic.
Marinas & Fuel Docks
Most fuel docks, deemed essential, have been open and will continue to be open to the public. Prior to May 5th , many marinas were closed to guest moorage, but a fair number have been accepting guest boats for overnight stays. After May 5th , it is expected that more marinas will be opening to guest moorage. Waggoner Guide continues to maintain an up-to-date open/closed status for marinas, parks, borders, and cruising destinations, see www.WaggonerGuide.com/covid-19 for the latest.
We welcome the opportunity to get back out on the water; however, this is not a return to normal pre-Covid-19 recreational boating. We need to make a few changes to our boating routine to be safe during Covid-19 that go beyond the everyday practices of wearing masks, social distancing, and frequent hand washing. Download the safe boating guidelines that are specifically geared to help boaters.
Governor Inslee’s 20-25.2 Proclamation specifically provides an exception to Stay-Home Stay-Healthy directive when participating in any of the Outdoor Recreation Activities authorized by proclamation 20-25.2.
Covid-19 Safe Boating Guidelines
Download the Covid-19 Safe Boating Guidelines
Safe boating guidelines specifically geared to help boaters.