As the coronavirus pandemic began to burden on the planet in May 2020, the former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief had a clear message for the Americans: get out. Enjoy the outdoors. It is safe for us, and there is a shallow risk that the virus will spread. Everything from the former Commissioner for Food and Drug Administration to Harvard University health experts echoed that statement, saying research keeps showing that outdoor activities, including boating, are a much safer way to stay healthy from the virus than any indoor exercise.
The study is why boat ramps and marinas have been among the first public spaces and companies to reopen since the original COVID-19 shutdowns. Even in the Northeast’s hardest-hit states, authorities decided that comfortable going out on a boat could be accomplished while other recreations, such as golf, remained off-limits. Boating or paddling, during the COVID-19 pandemic, will provide a relaxing outdoor escape. It is fantastic news to be able to go boating during the epidemic because research also illustrates that being on or near the water is a blessing to psychological health. And which one of us, now and again, could not use a mood booster?
Healing in the presence of water
Researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School in the UK released a study in October 2019 showing that people living by the ocean are 22 per cent less likely to experience signs of depression and anxiety than people remaining inland. The positive effects of the “blue health”,i.e., interacting with water bodies, were exceptionally high among families with lower income.
In 2018, the British research followed a Canadian research paper showing that people living closer to the water decreased their mortality risk by as much as 17 per cent. Of particular interest among women and older adults was the “protective effects” of being close to bodies of water. According to a 2013 report, only the sounds of water bodies can help to relieve stress. Get within a pool, river or ocean’s earshot, and you will feel better right away.
Nourish your ‘Blue Mind’
‘Blue Mind’ author Wallace J. Nichols knows all this knowledge well. His bestselling book explores the scientific explanations of why we can be happier and healthier while we are in, on or underwater.
“Simply the mere sight and sound of water promote wellness by lowering cortisol, the serotonin and relaxation,” Nichols said. In reality, he claims that being on a boat can even be regarded as a form of treatment when this comes to reducing stress. “Blue mind is when we disconnect and logout,” explains Nichols. “We move away from the screens, and we get out on the water, and leave all of that technology and information behind. We give our brains a break—and our brains love that.”
How safe is boating during the pandemic?
The Department of Homeland Security also released a report related to the virus’ lifespan on non-living surfaces in late April, during the midst of the coronavirus disease outbreak. The research explained in detail the anticipated times the virus can live on surfaces, given variations in temperature, humidity and exposure to sunlight. Ultimately, the findings revealed that the virus would die in about two minutes at a temperature above 70 degrees Fahrenheit at 80 per cent relative humidity and direct sunlight exposure — which is excellent news for boaters.
Especially those interested in alternatives to boat ownership such as boat rentals, peer-to-peer boat sharing and boat clubs, science shows that any issues about infection from previous renters should be minimal where updated cleaning guidelines for boat clubs and rentals are being implemented.
Make sure to follow these precautions:
- Restrict the people on board to those family members with whom you share your house, no visitors.
- You can’t even raft with other boats or jump up to a beach near another vessel, as it might bring you closer to the occupants.
- You also have to be vigilant when doing things like washing up at the marina or fueling the ships, to keep a safe distance from others.
- Disinfect by washing your hands by using a hand sanitizer as quickly as possible after doing something that involves touching an object someone might have used, such as a marina gate lock or a fuel pump.
- Finally, to keep your gear and equipment in advance for the highest level of protection, and do not decide to stop at a store on the way to the harbour or launch dock as you usually would.
Disinfecting your boat during Covid-19
Like many concrete surfaces, the parts of your ship could house the COVID-19 virus for a time. As long as you carry on boating between you and your mates, there should be no problem with your boat in and of itself. But what if you want to be extra careful to get your boat disinfected? In any scenario, go along with suggestions from the CDC. That means disinfecting surfaces with EPA-approved disinfectants, but note that some of the authorized disinfectants (such as bleach or acids) may affect some of a boat’s surfaces. If sanitizing chemicals are left on their surfaces, the canvas and vinyl are especially subject to damage or discolouration. So be sure to give your boat a thorough rinse-down after the disinfection. Overall the most important story is basically to keep a clean ship.
The Bottom Line on Coronavirus Boating
We boaters adore to get out on the water, and part of that love comes from bonding with relatives, spending some quality time with a loved one, or just loving the isolation. Happily, we could still do all these things comfortably on our vessels in places where short-distance travel has not been completely removed. Thus search the regulations that concern your locality. Be careful to maintain activities that isolate yourself from society. And then throw off those lines and feel the wind in your hair — because boating is always the best way to experience life on planet Earth from hands down.